The Danube Delta – Europe’s second-largest, but best preserved, delta – is an array of winding canals, marshes, rivers and lakes, replete with lush vegetation and spanning some 2,200 square miles. It is located near the mouth of the Black Sea, towards the end of the river Danube’s journey from its source in the Black Forest of Germany. The region is rich in vegetation and wildlife, especially birds. It has the highest concentration of bird colonies in Europe, making it an ideal destination for ornithologists.
The Delta is formed around three main channels of the River Danube and is home to the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve which, with more than 5,500 species of flora and fauna, has the third largest biodiversity in the world.
A vibrant and thriving ecosystem, the density of its bird population is augmented by some 3,450 animal species, from foxes and wolves to occasional deer, and 1,700 plant species for which the delta is also home. The natural habitat is littered with oaks, willows and thatch providing an ideal breeding ground for many avian species which travel from as far afield as China and Africa to raise their young within the delta. It is also a favoured spot for species migrating from the cold winters of the Arctic and Northern Europe.
Photograph from tripsite.com
SCENT and the Danube Delta
This is the largest wetland in Europe and is protected under UNESCO as a unique biosphere reserve. The Danube Delta suffers from human interventions leading to dramatic changes. These interventions include damming large areas for agricultural use and intensive forestry. They result in disturbances of the water and ecological balance and even the loss of specific habitats.
A dynamic and detailed knowledge of land-cover and -use changes related to this rural environment is required and is not covered by current land-use maps e.g. by Copernicus Land Monitoring service. A large number of citizens will participate in the SCENT field tests in DD, activated by partner SOR, an NGO which is very active in the Danube Delta and has access to a large network of citizen groups through campaigns about Danube bird habitats and biodiversity.
SCENT also has the active support of the Romanian governmental Danube Delta Biosphere Authority (DDBA) responsible for maintaining spatio-temporal flooding maps of the area. DDBA will attend workshops and evaluate the SCENT toolbox from the policy maker viewpoint.