Last week, from October 29th to November 1st, Foundation Conservation Carpathia hosted the annual meeting of beneficiaries of the Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP), a programme financed by the Arcadia Fund and implemented by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative in the United Kingdom.
Thirty guests, beneficiaries of the programme, from countries such as Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Portugal, Scotland, Wales and Romania had the opportunity to discover some of the wonders that the Făgăraș Mountains offer to Europe, but also the results of the 10 year-old conservation project FCC has implemented for the benefit of nature and people. This visit is the first of its kind in a series of five that will be organized annually in other countries that implement ELP projects, to ensure an exchange of information and experiences relevant to all those who carry out such projects.
During the three days spent together, using an optimal framework for debate, the participants had the opportunity to present their projects, discuss similar aspects, share successes and difficulties. Also, a series of trainings were provided to ensure better communication at the level of the projects and interaction exercises with the communities in the project areas.
However, as expected, the most appreciated activities of the day were the practical ones, in the field. Thus, FCC had the opportunity to present the degraded and then replanted forest areas. A very good example in this regard is the Dragoslovenilor Valley, where the importance of natural forests could be demonstrated; where in the past a strong wind caused tree fallings in an artificial spruce forest, and in the adjacent mixed forest, no damage was recorded.
Eco-tourism is another important component of the projects, representing the solution for the harmonious economic development of the rich natural areas. With the reintroduction of charismatic species (bison and beaver), the visiting infrastructure contributes to unique experiences. A successful example is the wildlife hide from Bunea, where participants identified traces of bears, spotted two deer and spent unique moments in one of Romania’s secular forests. The last stop in the three-day visit was the Cobor Biodiversity Farm, an economic initiative that, through its organization and activities, supports the conservation of biodiversity.
The richness and high natural value of Romania and the Făgăraș Mountains were presented with pride and respect for nature and the locals. All were highly appreciated by our visitors, and the efforts to protect nature are clearly not in vain. The initiators of the ELP program wish that through their support, these landscapes will become the places where nature offers us in a sustainable way clean air, clean waters and resources of food or energy, where the forest protects us from floods or harmful weather and wild animals can move freely in a vast territory, which allows them to adapt to climate change.