East European forest steppe

Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Ukraine

A huge patchwork ecoregion spread across eastern Europe and western Asia consisting of broadleaf forests and open grassland steppe.

East European forest steppe


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35,989 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​



Background – CC Attribution Share Alike 2.5 Generic – Cezar Suceveanu, 2008 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported – Terpsichores, 2012

Help your Ecoregion
So what can you do to help your ecoregion? Below is a list to help you support your ecoregion, while also achieving life's everyday tasks. Don’t underestimate your power in doing good for nature!


Food: Salad Box


Energy Provider: Tema Energy
Waste Management: Environ

At Home
Below is a list of actions you can easily take at home to minimise your impact on the ecoregion in which you live, and the rest of the planet too!
In your Garden
Below is a list of native plants and habitat creation tips you can use in your garden or on your property to give your ecoregion and its species a boost!


Try some of the steppeland's most important native trees such as Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Norway Maple (Acer platanoides), Small-leaved Lime (Tilia cordata) and Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) if you have space. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant native sub-canopy trees like Oriental Hornbeam (Carpinus orientalis), Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) and Silver Birch (Betula pendula). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Grow beautiful native shrubs Caragana frutex and European Dwarf Cherry (Prunus fruticosa). To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.


Plant swathes of colourful steppe wildflowers like Multi-flowered Buttercup (Ranunculus polyanthemos), Meadow Clary (Salvia pratensis), Rose Campion (Silene coronaria) and Purple Gromwell (Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum). Importantly, tufts of native grasses are also a great addition, including the dainty European Feather-grass (Stipa pennata), Prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass (Poa angustifolia) and Red Fescue (Festuca rubra). To create habitat, consider installing a pond or bog-garden with native aquatic and riparian plants like the White Water-lily (Nymphaea alba) and Narrowleaf Cattail (Typha angustifolia), log-piles for sheltering amphibians and reptiles and leave areas of leaf-litter for important insects.


The East European forest steppe is found as a fragmented and often heavily-altered ecoregion across much of eastern Europe and western Asia. In Romania, the ecoregion is confined to the north-east of the country bordering Moldova. It is an area dominated by human intervention with many of the ecoregion’s natural systems benefitting in some ways from traditional farming techniques that actually improved biodiversity. However, more modern, intensive agriculture has decimated much of the ecoregion with only about 5% protected. Dominant vegetation includes oaks, hornbeams and native maples in grassy woodlands and in depressions and on plains of grassland steppe, open country dominated by grasses and flowering plants occurs. Here bird-life is particularly rich, as well as numerous reptiles and small mammals that make these prairie-like landscapes home.

Ecoregion Structure
The structure of the ecoregion is defined as the key living and non-living features characterising its ecosystems, and the differences between how these ecosystems are arranged. For example, layers of vegetation, geology, habitat features and landscapes.


Wide steppelands of clays, sands, loamy soils and alluvial plains



Iconic Landscapes

Native plant communities

Scenes by @blueringmedia
Ecoregion Composition
The composition of the ecoregion is defined as the biodiversity that inhabits its ecosystems, and the differences between this biodiversity. For example, communities, populations, species, subspecies and genetic traits.
Keystone Species​
Keystone species are those that have a disproportionately large effect on the ecosystems in which they live, relative to their natural abundance there. In other words, species with a really important role in the health of ecosystems.

Oriental Hornbeam
(Carpinus orientalis)

Flagship Species
Flagship species are those that are chosen by people to represent a wider conservation message, usually for a given place or social context, and as such often carry conservation messages for wider biodiversity.

Bukovina Blind Mole-rat
(Spalax graecus)

Moldavian Meadow-viper
(Vipera ursinii subsp. moldavica)

Recently Extinct Species
All around the world, biodiversity is declining at a concerning rate. For some species it's already too late, and they have disappeared from the ecoregions they once called home. These are some examples of those lost species.

Techirghiol Stickleback
(Gasterosteus crenobiontus)

(Equus ferus subsp. ferus)

Ecoregion Function
The function of the ecoregion is defined as how its structural and compositional components all work together to form ecological relationships and processes which change over time through geological shifts and evolution by natural selection.

Keystone Relationships

Grey-headed Woodpeckers are ant hunters. Around 90% of their diet comprises ants and termites, making them important predators on these insects. This role means they're vital to help control booming populations of these tiny critters.

Life-support Systems​

Keystone Relationships
As an apex predator, Brown Bears are essential in the balance of healthy ecosystems in the Balkan mixed forests. Their predation on herbivores such as deer species, keeps vegetation succession and many related food-chains, in check.

Biodiversity is fundamental to a healthy planet and thriving communities, but the world's species are under tremendous threat.