Natural values of the Carei region

Careiului Plain lies in the vicinity of Carei, the town with the same name, and appears as a poor area in water courses, and higher compared to surrounding plains. It is a sandy area with most fixed dunes, with an altitude of 150-160 m. The region hosts a large number of species of plants and animals, which reflects not only the high level of biodiversity, but also the fragility or rarity of some of them, especially the endemic ones. Near the town, among vast agricultural land we find some remarkable places, which still preserves the natural heritage area, was formed on large deposits of sand which was left behind by the rivers Tisa, Someş and Crasna at the end of Pleistocene period. In time, the relief was shaped by wind creating the landscape today.

The continental dunes near Foieni locality join together an impressive number of environmental elements: southern, Mediterranean, Atlantic and of the Black Sea. Un-necohezive sands are fixed by an extraordinarily rich vegetation, and other rare species of flora psalmofile: Alyssum saxatile, wild chamomile, Chrysopogon gryllus, fescue, Helichrysum arenarium, steppe iris, knot grass, sand, pasqueflower, lamps, etc..

Characteristic animals include lizards, gophers and moles, the latter an endangered species worldwide. The gopher, endemic in Europe, is easily recognizable by its habit of getting up on hind legs and hiss at the sight of a predator, like a prey bird, stork or a bigger carnivorous. It is a characteristic species of grasslands and steppes, feeding mainly on seeds, flowers, insects and roots. Soft soils, clay and sandy layers are ideal for building burrows. Gopher population has declined significantly in recent decades due to the transformation of steppe grasslands into arable land, to the emerging mechanized cultivation and the abandonment of grazing land which prevented the overgrowth of tall weeds. However, Carei Plain has a significant population today, which was acknowledged and set up as a protected area of European importance.

Near Sanislău village lies Vermeş Marsh, a eutrophic marsh intertwined in the area of the continental interdune from Nir Plain, represented by a sand relief, shaped in the Upper Pleistocene. This botanical reservation has a vegetation of relict species. Also this place was a remarkable resort which nestled the birds of the region. Currently the marsh vegetation still preserves the original and authentic vegetation structure heritage. Its particular significance is that it preserves some glacial relict: Calamagrostis neglecta, Carex appropinquata. Vermes Marsh hosts some rare species in the flora of the country: a carnivorous plant, dog milk, pond violet, Eriophorum angustifolium, white lily, sand willow. The territory has a significant fauna. Here is the only point in the country where was found the snipe nesting. The thickness of the vegetation are nesting species of ducks, red heron, bittern, night heron, coot, reed kite, marsh warbler, and the edge of the marsh in the adjacent forest, common buzzard. In the forest was identified a rich population of oriole, a species which has declined dramatically throughout the country and even in Europe. This swampy area has a rich herpetofauna.

"Ash" forest from Urziceni is located just outside Carei Plain, towards the sands of the northwest Romania. According to some authors, this resort is actually a clogged bay of the Ecedea Marsh. This forest with moisture excess (being traversed by a natural course) houses a remarkable flowering and has two levels: large trees: ash, oak, black pine, maple etc., small trees are very rich and represented by : hazelnut, cornelian cherry, hawthorn, blackthorn. Among the plants that occur here are: Trollius europaeus - glacial relict, snowdrop, Senecio carpatica. The forest contains a significant colony of herons and among nesting bird species we mention the black stork, a very rare and protected species throughout Europe.

Among the monuments of nature, we mention Dendrologic Park of Carei, located in the center of the town, which has an area of 10 ha. It includes approx. 110 exotic and indigenous species, some rarities of the dendrological flora cultivated in Romania, and others representing true size records. These include: Gingko biloba tree that exists only in the southern regions of China, Green duglas originating from North America, having a height of 20 m, smooth pine originating from North America, pan, a tall species of 34 m high and diameter of 184 cm, horse chestnut, American poplar, field elm, American maple, small-leaved lime, black poplar, flowering ash, swamp oak, yew, Turkish hazel, etc.

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