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Tinovul Mare is Romania’s largest natural mire reserve that covers more than 680 hectares in the Dorna Candreni forest administration, Suceava County, between the settlements of Poiana Stampei and Dornisoara, elevation nearly 900 metres. It was declared a natural monument in 1955.

Photo credit: (c) poianastampei.ro

The area has a high scientific significance because human intervention here and the Sariu Dornei mire has been absent and they got to be preserved in an excellent state, says Cristian Gafincu, official with the Suceava Forestry Department in charge with protected areas. ‘Pollen conservation in the successive strata of peat reveals to researchers the succession of species in this area,’ he says.

Tinovul Mare Poiana Stampei belongs to the scientific reserves designed to protect and preserve natural terrestrial and/or aquatic habitats that have representative elements of scientific interest in terms of fauna, geology, speleology, palaeontology, soil study or other terms. The management of the scientific reserves is tasked with the observation of a strict protection status that makes sure the habitats are kept as unspoiled as possible. That is why human activities are barred, with the exception of research, education and ecotourism activities, themselves limited and requiring the approval of a scientific board and the administration of the reserve.

The oligotrophic mires, poor in minerals and nutrients, have a soil and water that lacks in nutrient minerals, especially lime. That is why their flora has to feed mainly on airborne particles and air precipitation. Because of abundant moss, especially of the Sphagnum genus, the soil and water became strongly acid, coloured in various shades of brown. Bacteria are absent some centimetres deep into the soil because of acidity and lack of oxygen, which explains why the pollen deposited along centuries in successive strata of peat has been optimally preserved.

The Tinovul Mare Reserve lies in the multifaceted Dorna Depression, which elements belong to a volcano area and the trans-Carpathian flysch as well as to the area of crystalline and extra-Carpathian flysch.

Tinovul Poiana Stampei came into existence on the andesite alluvial deposits of the Dornisoara Stream. The Dorna Depression is part of the same large geomorphologic unit of the Bargau — Dorna — Moldova Couloir and it is of tectonic and volcanic origin. In the place where the Dorna meets the Dornisoara, mires have been formed because of a depression relief and a richness of pluvial and underground waters.

The reserve’s climate is mountainous, with averages of—6 degrees Celsius in January and June averages of below 14 degrees Celsius, with a relative air humidity of 80%. Freezing temperatures are quite frequent, and snow lasts for more than 100 days.

Photo credit: (c) poianastampei.ro

Scots pine (Pinus sylvanicus) is the dominant tree at the Poiana Stampei mire, a slow growing species that can live up to 100 years, which diameters can reach 10-22 centimetres. Also growing there are hairy birch trees and hybrids thereof, mountain ash trees, quaking aspen trees and spruce trees making up the protection area. The herbal flora is made up of acidophil species: ferns, cranberries, blueberries, bog rosemary, black crowberries, sedges, along with the moss species Sphagnum wulfianum, as well as arctic and subarctic relict specific of Finnish tundra.

Besides the usual mountainous fauna, the area also has relicts from faraway habitats, including Greenland, Scotland, the Far East, such as Macrobiatus dubrus, uncommon in Central and Southern Europe, the Formica fusca picea ants and the Tetragantha pinicola, Therium undulatum and Drasodes margaritella spiders. The oligotrophic mires preserve both relict and current species, showing the succession in time of species. Their existence is highly valuable to the studies of species and the rational exploitation of peat for its special qualities — healing, isolation, medicinal peat and soil improvement.

The status of the reserve does not allow visits for tourist purposes and visitors’ access is restricted to organised groups for educational or scientific purposes, granted by the custodian in the presence of a guide and only using a footbridge that crosses the mire.

The Suceava Forestry Department cooperates with the Suceava School Inspectorate and other interested institutions, organising events related to the annual environmental events as well as practical works for public awareness purposes.

The Suceava Forestry Department has also set up an information office at the Dorna Candreni Forestry Administration headquarters, where information and picture databases are available.

A first themed path at Tinovul Mare Poiana Stampei was inaugurated this autumn, with the participation of students from the Poiana Stampei Primary School.

Under a project called ‘Tinovul Poiana Stampei — nature and travelling in the ecotourism destination of Dornele Land,’ a new trial was established that overlaps the old footbridge that used to cross the protected area. The footbridge was repaired and improved with support from the AER Association of Romania’s Ecotourism Operators, in partnership with the Calimani National Park Administration (APNC), in an attempt to diversify the offering of activities in Dornele Land as well as to showcase the hidden world of mires and their highly interested features. Access to the themed trail is from the road to Dornisoara. Visitors are guided by billboards that provide information about the formation of the area and the animals housed here, as well as their importance. AGERPRES

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