A study into the economic and ecological potential of conservation enterprises to enhance the local economy, ecosystem services, and biodiversity in the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site

In the past 20 years, Romania has undergone a strong development towards a Western European economy, and consequently, the pressure on natural ecosystems capable to provide services, increased considerably. At the same time, with the restitution of formerly nationalised forests, the pressure on forests has grown considerably with massive, illegal deforestation on many tens of thousands of hectares. Small hydro-power plants, holiday houses, poaching and overhunting, and the construction of hotels and guesthouses have had further negative impact on biodiversity conservation in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains.

The situation in and around the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site is very similar to many other protected areas in Romania, which are generally insufficiently funded, and face significant pressure for development. Conservation enterprises, defined as any commercial activity that generates social or economic benefits in a way that supports or incentivises one or more conservation outcomes, could help to create and channel business opportunities into a direction, which actively supports the conservation context, and create jobs and income for local people. These conservation enterprises can even create income for the protected area administration, once the legal framework, and solutions and recommendations for policy makers are available.

To develop a new economy around the future CARPATHIA National Park, FCC received financial aid from the EEA Grants to explore conservation values and business opportunities around the Fagaras Mountains. Through this project we want to evaluate the socio-economic and conservation context in the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site, the current ongoing business activities, and to synthesise how they could be transformed into a new economy, which would assist in the full restoration of ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. The project aims also to analyse the political framework for the development of conservation enterprises, and to come up with policy recommendations to foster such a development not just in the Fagaras Mountains, but in other protected areas of Romania as well.

Our study, which we undertake with the help of Conservation Capital and the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research also includes the development of business plans for conservation enterprises, such as a multifunctional CARPATHIA Centre, policy recommendations for the Ministerial sector how to support the development of conservation enterprises around protected areas, and manuals for the implementation of such programmes.

  1. Foundation Conservation Carpathia – Romania, the project promoter;
  2. Norwegian Institute for Nature Research;
  3. Conservation Capital Ro – United Kingdom, Romanian branch;
  4. Mrass & Partner – Romania
  1. To assess the socio-economic context and the ecosystem values and threats of the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 sites;
  2. To then assess and prioritise the enterprise opportunities within and relating to the project area which can support biodiversity and enhance ecosystem services;
  3. To develop business plan proposals for the most relevant conservation enterprises with clear linkages established between the operations of those enterprises and the identified biodiversity and ecosystem values; this section includes a business plan and the design of a multi-functional CARPATHIA Centre, which should serve as a visitor information, education, research, training, and administrative centre;
  4. To identify solutions and recommendations for policy makers which will support the development of conservation enterprises and related ecosystem services;
  5. To promote and support the development of similar conservation enterprise programmes in other high nature value areas of Romania;
  6. To demonstrate the potential financial and non-financial benefits to the identified stakeholders, related to the biodiversity and ecosystem services context of the project area;
  7. To increase public awareness over the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services and opportunities for conservation enterprises in the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 sites.

Activity 1: Establish the ecosystem and biodiversity values of the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site;

Activity 2: Establish the stakeholders who could potentially impact upon / benefit from those values, by means of assessing the socio-economic context of the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 sites;

Activity 3: Establish and prioritise the opportunities for conservation-based enterprises in the project area, having regard to the outcomes of Activities 1 and 2 above, including the design of a multi-functional conservation centre;

Activity 4: Establish the precise ways in which the conservation enterprise opportunities identified in Activity 3 can engage and incentivise the stakeholders identified in Activity 2 in order to support and enhance the ecosystem services and biodiversity values as identified in Activity 1;

Activity 5: Develop business plan and financing proposals for each identified priority conservation enterprise, including for a multi-functional centre;

Activity 6: Identify and rationalise a series of policy recommendations to support the development of viable and high impact conservation enterprises in other regions of Romania;

Activity 7: Develop a manual which will detail the methodologies and supporting tools used within the Project in order to facilitate the development of conservation enterprises elsewhere in Romania;

Activity 8: Promotion of ecosystem values in the Fagaras Mountains to the public and demonstration, how stakeholders can benefit from these through conservation enterprises;

Activity 9: Project management and outreach;

Result 1: A report detailing the ecosystem and biodiversity values of the Fagaras Mountains and a strategy for how to conserve and enhance these values.

Result 2: A report containing detailed analysis of all stakeholders (e.g. local communities) who either have a significant influence/impact upon the ecosystem services and biodiversity values of the wider Fagaras Mountains, or who could be impacted by (or benefit from) those values.

Result 3: Business plan proposals for the most relevant conservation enterprises with clear linkages established between the operations of those enterprises and the identified biodiversity and ecosystem values; this section includes a business plan and the design of a multi-functional CARPATHIA Centre, which should serve as a visitor information, education, research, training, and administrative centre.

Result 4: A report detailing the precise ways in which the conservation enterprise opportunities identified can engage the identified stakeholders in order to support and enhance the ecosystem services and biodiversity values.

Result 5: A business plan developed for each identified conservation enterprise opportunity, including a multi-functional information/education/research/training centre, with each plan to include financing requirements, capital structure and potential sources, requisite property rights, optimum operator profile, marketing, distribution and promotional strategy, recommended partnership structures and relevant social and conservation covenants.

Result 6: A report detailing a series of policy recommendations designed to support the development of viable and high impact conservation enterprises in other regions of Romania.

Result 7: A manual for protected area managers, which detailing the methodologies and supporting tools used within the Project, designed to help facilitate the development of conservation enterprises elsewhere in Romania.

Result 8: A series of public promotion activities, designed to effectively communicate the ecosystem values of the project area and the ways in which stakeholders can benefit from these through the mechanism of conservation enterprises.

Result 9: A final report detailing how all activities of the project have been fulfilled and all the results achieved, together with information on how human and material resources have been used.

Funding structure of the project RO2015_3457_ECOSS:

  • Financing grant – 449.696 euro.
  • FCC contribution – 49.966 euro.

The project is financed through the Financial Mechanism of European Economic Area Grants 2009 – 2014, in Romania. Programme Operator is the Romanian Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests.

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Project financed by the EEA grants 2009 – 2014, through RO02 Biodiversity and ecosystem services programme.
The contents of this page do not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA grants 2009 – 2014.

The entire responsibility for the correctness and coherence of the information presented belongs to the website’s owners.
For official information on the EEA and Norway grants visit www.eeagrants.org.

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