European Black Poplar (Populus nigra) is one of flagship
species for conservation along the Danube river. Due to habitat loss
in last few decades the Black Poplar become an endangered tree species.
Importance of Black Poplar
The old trees provide suitable breeding habitats for many birds, while young ones serve as indicators for river dynamics as they rejuvenate only on open pioneer habitats like gravel and sand banks. It serves as indicator species for sustainable floodplain forest management.
Black Poplar characteristics
The Black Poplar is a Eurasian native species, which probably evolved in fluvial corridors at least 58 million years ago. It is a medium to large-sized deciduous tree, reaching 20–30 m, and rarely 40 m tall. Their leaves are diamond-shaped to triangular, 5–8 cm long and 6–8 cm broad.
Its life cycle, from pollination, seed formation, dispersal and germination or vegetative propagation through mature growth, is well synchronized with the natural flow regime, notably the frequency and timing of periodic and repeated droughts and floods.
Due to their impressive growth rates, poplar species have become some of the most extensively cultivated trees in temperate latitudes around the world, and have been incorporated into managed systems including traditional, wide-spaced plantations, and short-rotation coppice systems.
Within DANUBEPARKS STEP 2.0 project (“Anchoring the Danube River Network of Protected Areas as Platform for Preservation of Danube Natural Heritage”) Black Poplar was promoted as flagship species. Implementation of conservation activities, within the project, for this species contributed to improvement of forest habitat management practice but at the same time it stressed the role of Danube Protected Areas for its preservation.
You can find more information about topic in DANUBEPARKS's monography „Variability of European Black Poplar (Populus nigra L.) in the Danube Basin“.