Urban nature in Bucharest

Edited by: Andreea Miscodan

Natura urbană din București



Urban biodiversitymeans the totality of living organisms, from genes and species to ecosystems in the city. In the city of Bucharest, biodiversity it is much more present than we imagine, even if it is often hidden, sometimes unwanted or simply goes unnoticed. In contrast to the biodiversity of the environments in which man has intervened less, the one in Bucharest is characterized by the unpredictable: there is a diversity of organisms, in a limited space and with completely modified living conditions. In Bucharest they live together:

  • Species from the original ecosystems, which acquire a certain dependence on the special conditions offered by the city, but which do not give up the natural habitats near it

(eg different species of amphibians, reptiles, waterfowl, insectivores and raptors, foxes)

  • species introduced intentionally by human society (eg dogs, cats, parrots)
  • urban species, which fully integrate into the city’s ecosystem. (eg pigeons, sparrows, rats, countless kinds of beetles)

Such differences appear because urban biodiversity of the municipality of Bucharest has undergone numerous changes compared to the natural one. Is about:

  • the disappearance of native species with reduced tolerance to changing environmental conditions or considered aggressive for the urban population (venomous snakes, large carnivores)
  • expanding the range of plant species that have aesthetic, cultural or regulatory value
  • the development of exotic plants and animals, grown inside homes for decorative purposes
  • the significant development of autochthonous or allochthonous opportunistic species (flies, mosquitoes, ants, rodents)
  • changing the behaviors of plant and animal species, related to feeding, reproduction or interactions with humans.


Compared to natural ecosystems, the relationship between humans and biodiversity urban is much firmer. Species that predominantly generate benefits are accepted and supported to develop: they receive care, food, their natural enemies are removed. Those that cause damage or are associated with potential problems (eg mosquitoes, rats, ticks). Some species important in animal husbandry become urban attractions and transform from providers of food and other products to providers of leisure.

A zoo or botanical garden becomes important spaces for the education of children and young people and further changes the behavior of the townspeople towards animals or plants. Interest in respecting animal rights is growing. Non-governmental organizations and groups of people react to acts of cruelty against animals, their abandonment and other abuses that target them, and specialized centers for cases of abandonment operate on the outskirts of Bucharest. The dependence of the population on intensively arranged spaces is problematic.


Urban nature brings together the species and the places where these species occur in the urban matrix. Although it seems inappropriate, the association of the terms “nature’and‘urban’is increasingly used by urban ecology researchers. It makes sense if we think that although their environment biophysics has been significantly modified, cities still have spaces that hosta biodiversitythat can last over time. Bucharest’s urban nature,a very diverse one, is characterized by:  

  • ecosystems with different degrees of anthropogenic transformation;
  •  small and fragmented surfaces, strongly influenced by the surroundings; 
  • different level of maintenance by human society; 
  •  different ratio between native and exotic species
  •  relevance for nature conservation, given the potential to be integrated into the regional ecological infrastructure; 

In the municipality of Bucharest, four types of urban nature can be identified:

Type 1 urban nature (initial ecosystems)

That is, what has been preserved of the original ecosystems specific to this area, even if they have undergone some anthropic interventions. In this category is included the Băneasa Forest, which represents a remnant of the former Codris of Vlăsia

Type 2 urban nature (agricultural ecosystems)

It is represented by the spaces on which man intervened to use them for production, especially for food

Type 3 urban nature (green and aquatic landscaped spaces)

It is represented by the set of green spaces (parks, gardens, squares, street alignments, sports bases) and aquatic spaces arranged by man, especially for recreation and leisure.

Type 4 urban nature (renatured ecosystems)

It brings together areas in the process of regeneration, with or without human intervention. They overlap over areas with abandoned infrastructures (the Văcărești area) or over abandoned industrial or communication areas (especially railways).


Among the components of the green infrastructureof the municipality of Bucharest were included: Băneasa Forest, Văcărești Natural Park, the parks of the municipality of Bucharest and the othergreen components(gardens of residential complexes, street alignments)

Baneasa Forest

A remnant of Codrii Vlăsiei, Pădurea Băneasa has an area of 1,221 hectares, of which 582.22 hectares are located in the municipality of Bucharest.

Văcărești Natural Park

The surface of Văcărești Natural Park is 183 hectares. The park is bounded by 4 important streets of the capital: Splaiul Unirii to the north, Vitan-Bârzești Road to the east, Olteniței Road to the south and Calea Văcărești to the west.

Other green components

Apart from urban parks, in the category of green spaces are included: the Botanical Garden of Bucharest, the Zoo of Bucharest, the gardens of collective residential complexes, the gardens of public institutions.

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21st Greentury