Clear cuts break up the green carpet of conifer trees

Rewilding Romania

Clear cuts break up the green carpet of conifer trees

Rewilding Romania

Romania’s natural world is arguably one of Europe’s last true wilderness areas. Old-growth forests blanket vast mountain ranges that stretch across the country. They offer refuge for European wildlife in an otherwise densely populated and highly developed continent. Wolves, bears and lynx all thrive here. To protect this landscape and the diversity of species that depend on it from increasing human exploitation, Mossy Earth has partnered with Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC). Here, I’d like to talk about the work that’s being done on the ground, with your support, to help keep Romania wild.

1. Habitat Restoration

2. Ranger Patrols

3. Wildlife Conservation

4. A Wild Future

Romania’s natural world is arguably one of Europe’s last true wilderness areas. Old-growth forests blanket vast mountain ranges that stretch across the country. They offer refuge for European wildlife in an otherwise densely populated and highly developed continent. Wolves, bears and lynx all thrive here. To protect this landscape and the diversity of species that depend on it from increasing human exploitation, Mossy Earth has partnered with Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC). Here, I’d like to talk about the work that’s being done on the ground, with your support, to help keep Romania wild.

1. Habitat Restoration

2. Ranger Patrols

3. Wildlife Conservation

4. A Wild Future

Habitat Restoration

Though Romania still has much of its forest habitat intact, many areas are under immense pressure from unsustainable logging and exploitation practices. Huge areas of forest in the Carpathian Mountains are being cleared in their entirety, rather than selectively cutting a few trees over a larger area, a much more sustainable practice. As huge swathes of trees are cleared from area, the soil is left vulnerable to disastrous levels of soil erosion. To restore these clear-cut areas and improve the soil structure, the team surveys the area to assess the extent of the damage, the level of regeneration that is already taking place and the absence of important species. Once this has been done, trees are grown in local nurseries until they are strong enough to be planted out in the field. Pioneer species are planted first to help restore the soil before a diversity of other species are planted that recreate the original forest composition.

Vast forests stand out  against a foreground of clear cuts

Habitat Restoration

Though Romania still has much of its forest habitat intact, many areas are under immense pressure from unsustainable logging and exploitation practices. Huge areas of forest in the Carpathian Mountains are being cleared in their entirety, rather than selectively cutting a few trees over a larger area, a much more sustainable practice. As huge swathes of trees are cleared from area, the soil is left vulnerable to disastrous levels of soil erosion. To restore these clear-cut areas and improve the soil structure, the team surveys the area to assess the extent of the damage, the level of regeneration that is already taking place and the absence of important species. Once this has been done, trees are grown in local nurseries until they are strong enough to be planted out in the field. Pioneer species are planted first to help restore the soil before a diversity of other species are planted that recreate the original forest composition.

Vast forests stand out  against a foreground of clear cuts

Ranger Patrols

To protect the existing old-growth forests, rangers from the local community carry out regular forest patrols. Having a presence in the mountains helps protect these forests from illegal logging and deters poachers from illegal hunting. It also helps to connect the local community, who are hired as rangers, with the conservation of their natural environment.

A ranger overlooks a clear cut
A ranger overlooks a clear cut

Ranger Patrols

To protect the existing old-growth forests, rangers from the local community carry out regular forest patrols. Having a presence in the mountains helps protect these forests from illegal logging and deters poachers from illegal hunting. It also helps to connect the local community, who are hired as rangers, with the conservation of their natural environment.

Wildlife Conservation

Once the clear-cut areas have been replanted and the trees have had time to grow, they will increase the habitat available for a diversity of species. Romania is home to a significant portion of the species that are threatened across Europe, many of them relying on these forest habitats for survival. The project also helps reconnect isolated forest patches so that animals can move safely across the landscape. To keep track of the species that are present in the region, camera traps are placed across the project area. This also allows the team to monitor wildlife movements, habitat use and behaviour, and can inform estimates of population sizes and whether they are stable, increasing or decreasing.

A Eurasian lynx startes at a camera trap

Wildlife Conservation

Once the clear-cut areas have been replanted and the trees have had time to grow, they will increase the habitat available for a diversity of species. Romania is home to a significant portion of the species that are threatened across Europe, many of them relying on these forest habitats for survival. The project also helps reconnect isolated forest patches so that animals can move safely across the landscape. To keep track of the species that are present in the region, camera traps are placed across the project area. This also allows the team to monitor wildlife movements, habitat use and behaviour, and can inform estimates of population sizes and whether they are stable, increasing or decreasing.

A Eurasian lynx startes at a camera trap
Vast lush forests cover the mountainous landscape

A Wild Future

There are many reasons to celebrate Romania's natural world. But, as the country continues to develop, the old-growth forests that have provided a wildlife refuge for Europe’s sensitive species are increasingly under threat. Through our work with FCC, we aim to restore degraded clear-cuts to healthy, functioning and biodiverse forests. With your support we can protect Romania’s great wild spaces.

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. “The Carpathians – Europe’s only true wilderness” – The European Nature Trust 2014 – youtube.com
  2.  
  3. 2. The race to save Romania’s forests: how illegal loggers lay waste to the wilderness” – New Statesman 2017 – newstatesman.com
  4.  
  1. 3. “Romania’s biodiversity at risk: A call to action” – IUCN 2013 – iucn.org

4. “The Vulnerable Bison: Practices and Meanings of Rewilding in the Romanian Carpathians” – Vasile, M. 2018 - Conservation and Society Vol 16, Issue 3 – jstor.org ✅

5. “Tracking lynx in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains” – Mossy Earth 2019 - mossyearth

A Wild Future

Once the clear-cut areas have been replanted and the trees have had time to grow, they will increase the habitat available for a diversity of species. Romania is home to a significant portion of the species that are threatened across Europe, many of them relying on these forest habitats for survival. The project also helps reconnect isolated forest patches so that animals can move safely across the landscape. To keep track of the species that are present in the region, camera traps are placed across the project area. This also allows the team to monitor wildlife movements, habitat use and behaviour, and can inform estimates of population sizes and whether they are stable, increasing or decreasing.

Vast lush forests cover the mountainous landscape

Sources & further reading

✅ for peer reviewed research

  1. 1. “The Carpathians – Europe’s only true wilderness” – The European Nature Trust 2014 – youtube.com
  2.  
  3. 2. The race to save Romania’s forests: how illegal loggers lay waste to the wilderness” – New Statesman 2017 – newstatesman.com
  4.  
  1. 3. “Romania’s biodiversity at risk: A call to action” – IUCN 2013 – iucn.org

4. “The Vulnerable Bison: Practices and Meanings of Rewilding in the Romanian Carpathians” – Vasile, M. 2018 - Conservation and Society Vol 16, Issue 3 – jstor.org ✅

5. “Tracking lynx in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains” – Mossy Earth 2019 - mossyearth

  1.