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Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania
Conservarea biodiversităţii şi dezvoltare comunitară în Transilvania

The grasslands being protected by this project

In the SCI there are 2 priority dry grassland habitat types which are threatened by land use changes: 6210* and 6240*.

6210*: dry grasslands over limestone or other calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia),with important orchid sites.
Covering about 4% of the Sighișoara-Târnava Mare area.

In the project area, the calcareous substrate is largely marl or lime-rich clay. This type of grassland, dominated by Upright Brome (Bromopsis erecta) and fescues (Festuca species), is widespread on south- and west-facing slopes, both steep and gentle, with few or no trees. On deeper, slightly less dry soils of higher nutrient levels, it grades into another type of dry grassland dominated by Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum).

These grasslands are often a rich carpet of wild orchids and other wild flowers, including Red Viper’s-bugloss (Echium maculatum), Jurinea (Jurinea mollis) and Three-toothed Orchid (Orchis tridentata).

Characteristic butterfly species include the Dryad (Minois dryas), Hermit (Chazara briseis), Green-underside Blue (Glaucopsyche alexis) and Chestnut Heath (Coenonympha glycerion).

Minois dryas Coenonympha glycerion Glaucopsyche alexis Echium maculatum Jurinea mollis Orchis tridentata

6240* Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands

Covering about 2% of the Sighișoara-Târnava Mare area

These steppic-type grasslands occur on the steepest sunny slopes and are dominated by various grasses, especially feather-grasses (Stipa species) as well as Chrysopogon gryllus, Dichanthium ischaemum and the small sedge Carex humilis.

In this habitat we find several rare plant species including the showy Steppe Sea-kale (Crambe tataria), Burning Bush (Dictamnus albus) and Nodding Sage (Salvia nutans), and the dwarf flowering shrub Steppe Almond (Prunus tenella).

Polyommatus coridon Pyrgus sidae Maculinea arion Salvia nutans Dictamnus albus Crambe tataria Butterflies found here include Large Blue (Maculinea arion), Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon), Yellow Banded Skipper (Pyrgus sidae), Eastern Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes schiffermuelleri) and Red-band Fritillary (Melitaea didyma).

For further information on the plant and butterfly species linked to these habitats, these booklets – 'The High Nature Value dry grasslands of southern Transylvania', ‘Indicator butterflies and moths of the High Nature Value dry grasslands of Transylvania’ and ‘Indicator plants of the High Nature Value dry grasslands of Transylvania’ – can be downloaded here or are available in hard copy from the Fundația ADEPT Office, Saschiz.

About 5,000 ha of these rare and protected habitats exist in the SCI. Of these, about 1.000 ha are poorly managed: overgrazing in easily accessible sites, abandonment of less accessible grassland (causing spreading of thorny scrub). This is the result of neglect and collapse of traditional rural economy.

* indicates priority habitat under the European Habitats Directive, designated for habitats of special importance.

Tarnava Mare SCI: Saving Transylvania’s Important Pastoral Ecosystem


LIFE+ STIPA Project Results

Objectives of the project

Reasons for this project

The Grasslands

What did we do, in more detail?

The Future

The STIPA team

Progress Reports

What did the project achieve in the end? Some highlights

Innovative GIS mapping for large-scale conservation –


Conservation Action Plan agreed by Town halls –


Innovative mowers demonstrated –


Over 320 ha cleared of scrub, over 900 ha returned –


Monitoring shows significant improvements in the –


Flora and Lepidoptera Indicator species guides –


8 schools, 280 children per year in nature classes –


Over 1 million TV viewers in Romania have seen –


High-profile visits have raised awareness further –


New agri-environment measures designed –

Sponsorul Oficial - Fundația Orange România