Grassland habitat degradation intensified in the last century worldwide and in Europe. In Romania, substantial areas of biodiverse grassland habitats that persisted due to small-scale farming are now threatened by recent land-use intensification. However, data regarding the deviation from grazing optimum, essential for management plans encompassing both socioeconomic sustainability and environment conservation, are not yet available. To fill this gap, detailed statistics of the stocking rate and its deviation from optimum were generated by spatial modeling techniques. A toolbox was developed to assess such deviations inside or outside the Natura 2000 Network of protected areas. The analysis covered an area of 33529.42 km2, corresponding to all the Romanian permanent grasslands within the land parcel identification system. The results indicate that over half of this area is degraded, mostly from overgrazing. Less than 10% is not impacted by inadequate livestock density. Of the national grassland area, 17.34% is included within the Natura 2000 protected sites, indicating the substantial overlapping of agricultural and protection activities. For this category, the degraded area is slightly lower than at the national level (50.34% vs. 52.45%). These results can be applied for environmental conflict anticipation and optimal management of grassland habitats to achieve both socioeconomic and conservation objectives.
Part of the book: Habitats of the World