High nature value grasslands almost completely compromised!

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IMG_8550 (2)Plowing and disking on farmland from protected areas is in the special attention of “Milvus Group” Association. In many cases, these agricultural processes lead to the total or partial destruction of habitats of European interest.

This is the case of the Sânmartin and Macea grasslands from Arad County, where more than 350 hectares have been converted to agricultural land by mechanical means.

100_4579This land is extremely important, in itself constituting a priority habitat of salt steppes, and is considered an edifying habitat for some protected species of community interest like the European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus), the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus), the roller (Coracias garrulus) or the lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor).
The situation is even more serious as the area is also home to a natural nesting colony of red-footed falcons, supplemented by Milvus Group with over a hundred artificial nests. Here, between 25 and 40 pairs are observed every year, thus reducing the surface of grasslands in the area represents a threat for the nesting birds.

DSC01242The destroyed grasslands were also a habitat for a viable European ground squirrel population. Worldwide, only six countries, including Romania still host such strong populations. The habitats affected by conversion have a very important role in the conservation of this species!

Following the plowing of the salt steppes, also a habitat of at least 200 ground squirrel individuals was destroyed.

Milvus Group Association referred the matter to the Environmental Guard of Arad County and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

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