Order in the disorder

The forest ecosystem means an integral coexistent of woody native plants, which on a required size of living area, creates a unique biological community and a specific natural environment living together in interdependence and interaction with the flora and fauna. The most important features of the natural forest ecosystem is the mixed woods, the mixed age, the functional levels which gives a stability to the forest. The old trees and the deadwood take an important place in the forest food chain and in the material cycle by ensuring habitats, shelter and food source. The natural forest developed as a result of dynamic forest processes without the human impact. The development and the life of a forest, is determined by life history strategies of the dominant species and by the natural disturbances. The „incoordinate” image of the forest in fact shows the real system in the forest.

Always green!

A significant part of the surrounding forest surrounding the Falcon Stone is represented by coniferous forest. The forest is dominated by the European Silver Fir (Abies alba) and the Norway Spruce (Picea abies), but we can also find the Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris). The European Silver Fir and the Norway Spruce can exceeds 50 m height, while the Scots Pine grows up to 30-40 meters, but all three species can reach hundreds of years old. The best way to distinguish all three species is on the basis of their leaves: the European Silver Fir – its leaves are 3 cm long, glossy dark green above and with two greenish-white bands of stomata below, this kind of leaf is usually slightly notched at the tip; the Norway Spruce – its dark green leaves are 1-2 cm long, quadrangular in cross-section and sharp at the tip; the Scots Pine – its dense leaves are dark green and about 4-6 cm long. The coniferous forest, beside the economical significance, plays an important role in the life of the forest wildlife. The evergreen foliage ensures habitat and feeding place for many bird species, mammals or insects.

Reverse stratification

The vegetation of the reserve shows a typical pattern, which is caused by a meteorological phenomenon called temperature inversion (reverse stratification) and it is a characteristic of the whole Ciuc Basin. The contained shape of the intramountaneous basin results that the cold air mass stagnates in the low-lying areas in the basin and therefore the warmer air mass is placed above the cold. This is called a temperature inversion whereupon sometimes on the mountain peaks it is warmer than in the valleys. During this phenomenon a long-lasting fog and lull can be observed in the basin. The annual minimum temperatures were measured in the low-lying areas and not on the mountain peaks. Around Tusnad Spa, at 650 m altitude, can be observed coniferous trees, adapted to cold climate but moving upwards, towards the Falcon Stone, at 800 m altitude we can encounter deciduous forest, adapted to a warmer climate.

The Falcon Stone vegetation

The Falcon Stone vegetation is composed of characteristic plants for dry and rocky habitats. One of the most representative plant of the reservation is a Hawkweed specie (Hieracium telekianum), which was described, by an important botanist, Ádám Boros with his colleague, Géza Lengyel in 1942. This Hawkweed grows in the rock fissures and can be recognize by the foliage covered with dark spots. This is a local endemism and it is listed in the National Red List. Other plants, characteristic of dry and rocky vegetation: the Tall Hawkweed (Hieracium piloselloides), the Hairy houseleek (Jovibarba hirta), the Giant Stonecrop (Sedum maximum), the Goldmoss Stonecrop (Sedum acre), the Houseleek (Sempervivum marmoreum), the Common St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), the Hairy broom (Cytisus hirsutus). It can be observe: the European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), the Common Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), the Upright bedstraw (Galium mollugo) or the Common Juniper (Juniperus communis), too. The plants growing on the rocks are surrounded with species from the deciduous forest and with some coniferous species.