Carpathians prepare for beaver, bison and business

Suitable landscape and socio-economic features for rewilding and protection of already existing wilderness values in Southern Carpathians were analysed in January and February by a team of Romanian and international experts, including representatives from all protected areas that will be affected. This will help the future development of the area with core sites, transition and buffer zones as well as adequate management regimes. It will also serve as the starting point for a wider “wilderness strategy” for the whole region from Brasov in the east to the Danube River in the west.

Together with a representative from the National Forest Administration, participants have also decided to form a Wilderness Working Group to help with coordination, data collection and implementation on the ground in the whole area.

The suitability of the area for reintroducing beaver and European bison was assessed already in November 2011 by two Romanian bison experts – Sebastian Catanoiu and Razzvan Deju from the Vanatori Neamt Nature Park further east in the Romanian Carpathians – and Gerhard Schwab, a beaver expert from Bavaria, Germany. Already the first field visit identified suitable places for bison and beaver. Local names of villages, hills, streams and other geographical features also indicate a historical presence of both species in the area. A more in-depth assessment of suitable locations for the two species will follow in summer 2012.

Within the already identified core areas in the parks of Mehedinti, Domogled, and Tarcu, work commenced to document land ownership, hunting rights, land abandonment, grazing (including dependence on subsidies), wildlife situation, and key stakeholders. This information will serve as the basis for starting up practical activities on the ground, including development of conservation-oriented enterprises already this year.

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