The inventory of plant and animal species and survey of listed species population started at the beginning of the project (July 2003). This action took place on the entire surface of the 5 initially proposed sites. Those inventories were also accompanied by others on the entire park area, financed trough the Biodiversity Conservation Management Project.
The obtained data leads to the conclusion that the entire park’s surface must be included in a singular extended Natura 2000 site.
In order to facilitate the mapping of the species, and the entering the data in a GIS compatible database, by the researchers working at the project, a simple mapping program was designed. This program use the satellite image as a base map, and all the data entered in the program are included in an Access database. The database contains accurate data regarding the location of the species (geographic coordinates, area’s name etc.). These data are transferred by the park’s IT specialist in the GIS system.
The species inventory revealed the presence of other 83 Briophyta species (17 liverworts, 66 mosses) new for the area of the Piatra Craiului National Park (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites).
The evaluation of the population of Buxbaumia viridis (Lam. & DC.) Moug. & Nestl was conducted in all the sites. The most five important sites for this species were discovered inside “Piatra Craiului Ridge and Barsa Valley” site. Two more important sites were discovered inside the park area, but outside the areas included initially in the proposed Natura 2000 sites. This observation, and other similar plead for the inclusion of the entire park’s area in a big Natura 2000 site.
For Mannia triandra, the studies meant to evaluate the population size revealed important populations in three areas of the Creasta Pietrei Craiului-Valea Bârsei site: Brâul de Mijloc al Ciorângii, Marele Grohotis and Crapatura Pietrei Craiului.
The researches showed that Frulania parvistipula holds a big population restricted only in one site - Cheile Mari ale Dâmbovitei.
• Higher plants
An outstanding discovery came to increase the value of Great Dambovitei Gorges site. A very big population of Lady’s sleeper (Cypripedium calceolus) was discovered in this area. This species is included in Habitats Directive and Bern Convention. This species was not previously recorded in the area by scientists, even its presence was known by the old local people. There were discovered only few individuals inside the proposed Natura 2000 site. A big population of more then 200 individuals is placed in the close vicinity of the site. It is recommended this area to be included in the Natura 2000 site.
The evaluation of Ligularia sibirica population, located only in Brusturetului Gorges site, showed an increase of the population in 2007 compared with 2004, as a consequence the area fencing and restoration of the soil moisture. The fence stopped the tourists and cattle to enter the area. The population counting conducted in 2007 revealed the increasing of the population (from 244 in 2004 to over 670 in 2007).
Based on the old literature data, Liparis loeselii was recorded in two sites. It was not found during the field activity, not even after an accurate search.
There were recorded as well 94 new taxa for Piatra Craiului (76 species, 15 subspecies, 3 varieties) + 3 hybrids (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites).
There were recorded 84 new species for Piatra Craiului (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites).
There were recorded 29 new species for Piatra Craiului (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites).
The evaluation of the Rosalia alpina revealed a small population located in four spots.
Cerambix cerdo was found in 6 locations and Lucanus cervus in 4 locations. There were recorded only few individuals. It is the supposition that big population could exist in some areas placed in the far vicinity of the park, where the preferred habitat of these species (deciduous forests) is more extended.
During the research activity, there were recorded as well 130 new taxa for the area of the Piatra Craiului National Park (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites) and one species new for science was described – Torymus varvaraii Popescu.
• Fish, amphibians and reptiles
There were recorded 2 new species of amphibians new for Piatra Craiului (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites).
The inventory and the evaluation of populations of the fish, amphibians and reptiles were conducted in all of the five sites.
Cottus gobio was difficult to evaluate, but the big number of individuals recorded, indicates the presence of a healthy population.
Regarding the evaluation of the population of the listed species, the Montandon’s Newt, Triturus montandoni, endemic to the Carpathians, were recorded hundreds of individuals in all the sites.
Triturus vulgaris and Triturus cristatus showed smaller populations then the previous species but still numerous in all the sites.
Of all the anuran species in the region, the Yellow-bellied Toad, Bombina variegata is among the most frequent and definitely the most abundant in the whole of the region, which contains many healthy populations.
During the researches, 20 bird species (10 included in the Birds Directive) were recorded as being new for the area.
The bird species have been identified by sight and voice for in all the five proposed sites, walking mostly on tourist and forestry paths both sides (east and west) of the mountain.
Only some data regarding the evaluation of populations’ size and the identification of nesting places of the listed species are presented below for different type of habitats.
We found here some large enough populations of both species of Swifts (Apus apus and A. melba) on Piatra Mica and the first one on the main ridge.
- Coniferous forests
Some nesting places of Tengmalm’s Owl Aegolius funereus, were identified in the area named Brâul de Mijloc of the main ridge and on the other side, near Curmatura Chalet. On both slopes of Piatra Mare, we found nesting places of Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus in four different places. The species is known as vulnerable to human disturbance and an indicator of healthy natural habitats, being restricted to the superior part of the coniferous forests with small clearings. The light traffic on the tourist paths and the lack of a chalet on the top of the mountain provide the peace of the places needed by Capercaillie.
The most common species in the conifers are Robin Erithacus rubecula (48 birds/km2) and Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita (20 birds/km2).
The most common bird species are Robin Erithacus rubecula (27 birds/km2), along with other birds that are common in the mixed forests: Song Thrush Turdus philomelos and Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita. Due to the presence of old beeches, the Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis and Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva show high populatins, as well. Woodpigeon Columba palumbus and Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis can be added to the Atlas of Breeding Birds (Munteanu et al. 2002) with new points of probable breeding.
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was present frequently on the western side of Piatra Craiului, in flight or feeding in Ursului valley in both years. A probable breeding point can be added to the Atlas (Munteanu et al. 2002).
Some of the species that prefer these habitats are Hoopoe Upupa epops, Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Woodlark Lullula arborea, Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs was again the most common bird with a density of 9 individuals per km2.
- Farmland and human settlements:
These habitats favour some species typical for them as House Martin Delichon urbica and provide nesting places for others: White Stork Ciconia ciconia, White Wagtail Motacilla alba. We found many nests of White Wagtail, House Martin and Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros, in or near the buildings on Bârsa valley.
An important a nesting place for Black Kite Milvus migrans is polaced near Gura Râului chalet, at the edge of Zarnesti town.
- Waters and wetlands:
This is home to some species like Garden Warbler Sylvia borin (seven nesting places were identified) and a feeding place for others, such as White Stork Ciconia ciconia and Black Stork Ciconia nigra. A breeding point for Ciconia nigra on the distribution map in the Atlas (Munteanu et al. 2002) can be added now.
- Limestone gorges:
We found there nesting places of Wallcreepers Tichodroma muraria, Alpine Swifts Apus melba, Common Swifts Apus apus and Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea. A pair feeding their young at a nest was seen in a place at the confluence between Vladusca and Râul Mare and 8 pairs of Alpine Swifts visiting their nests in the gorges was noted. We can add a new point of confirmed breeding to the Atlas (Munteanu et al. 2002) for Alpine Swift.
There were recorded 8 mammal species new for Piatra Craiului (inside the proposed Natura 2000 sites).
21 bat species were identified (9 using Bat Detector and 12 were seen in 16 caves).
From the 12 bat species identified in the underground roosts, two – Rhinolophus blasii Peters,1866 and Myotis emarginatus (Geoffroy, 1806) - are reported for Piatra Craiului National Park for the first time, as well in Southern Carpathians to the East of Olt river. Based on the identification of 3 ?? of Plecotus austriacus in the Large Cave or Bat Cave from Pestera/Cave village we also confirm the presence in the park of this species.
Comparing with the 30 reported bat species of the Romanian fauna, inside Piatra Craiului National Park there are 21 species. This number is large if we compare with South-Western Carpathians where 25 bat species were identified. However, if the number of bat species in this park represents 70% of the total bat species number, the size of their populations is much smaller and the observed trend is the decreasing in the number of individuals. This is because of the important atrophic influences, which disturb the bat populations in the park.
The populations of bear (10 individuals), lynx (8-10) and wolf (7-8 individuals) are healthy and well preserved.
The population of Lutra lutra is small, and severely affected by the human impact.