More than seven thousand saplings were planted in the Upper Dâmbovița Valley this autumn as part of the SUPERB project (Systemic solutions for upscaling of urgent ecosystem restoration for forest-related biodiversity and ecosystem services), the largest transboundary forest landscape restoration project in Europe. In this area we are gradually restoring the natural mixed forest which existed here until the 1950s through ecological restoration actions replacing the spruce monoculture.
Artificial spruce monocultures have a reduced diversity of plant and animal species, are more fragile in the face of storms, snow and insect calamities and negatively influence soil structure and acidity.
“Until the 1950s, a natural mixed forest grew here, which also had fir, beech and sycamore,” said Mihai Zotta, Conservation Director of Foundation Conservation Carpathia. “After being logged, the forest was replaced by an artificial spruce monoculture for purely economic reasons. Through ecological restoration actions we are facilitating or imitating natural processes as far as possible and taking into account the future effects of climate change. We are creating pockets of light and planting deciduous species in these areas to restore the natural, strong and biodiverse mixed forest. The gradual return of the natural forest in place of spruce monoculture is a long-term process, in successive stages that can last up to twenty years.”
The ecological restoration activities will lead to the gradual recovery of the mixed forest, specific to this region, without affecting the natural balance of the area. The process involves the spacing of deciduous tree species (beech, sycamore, rowan, elm), by removing spruce trees from around them or by creating openings in the dense spruce forest, in order to brighten the interior of these forests and create space for natural regeneration and planting of saplings.
The saplings were provided by Foundation Conservation Carpathia’s own nurseries and were produced in an organic way without the use of chemical treatments. The seed sources have also been carefully chosen and are mainly local.
The sycamore, rowan, elm and beech seeds were collected three years ago from the surrounding forests, and the fir seeds were purchased six years ago from a nearby certified seed source grown in similar mountainous conditions.
The SUPERB project involves more than 100 forest science and practice organisations from 20 different countries, and the project includes 12 demonstration areas across Europe. In Romania, the demonstration area is in the eastern Făgăraș Mountains, on the forest properties owned by Foundation Conservation Carpathia, and the project is also implemented in collaboration with The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, established by His Majesty, King Charles III.
The SUPERB project (Systemic solutions for upscaling of urgent ecosystem restoration for forest-related biodiversity and ecosystem services) aims primarily at promoting ecological reconstruction activities of forest ecosystems for the benefit of biodiversity and full functionality of ecosystem services. It aims to provide any European forest owner or manager with a best practice guide to apply when proposing to carry out ecological restoration on their properties, to have access to a network of consultants on the subject and to identify sources of funding for such work.
More details HERE.
SUPERB is a four-year EU-funded Horizon 2020 project with 36 project partners and over 90 associated partners. More information: https://efi.int/news/superb-promote-forest-restoration-and-adaptation-across-europe-2021-12-01