Romania Research Objectives
The Tarnava Mare Natura 2000 Region in Transylvania, Romania is one of the last medieval landscapes in Europe. Sitting at the foothills of the Carpathians this stunning 85,000 ha area not only boasts picturesque remote Saxon villages surrounded by some of, if not the most, extensive flower-rich grasslands remaining in lowland Europe, but it also houses a spectacular array of fauna including one of the largest populations of European Brown Bears found anywhere in Europe.
The landscape still presents a medieval land-use pattern: forested ridges and gullies, pasture and hay meadows on gentler slopes and terraces, and arable land and smaller meadows on the flat valley bottoms near villages.
Inclusion of the area in the EU Natura 2000 network enables funding to be obtained to maintain the low input traditional farming that has created such a high biodiversity. The Opwall teams are completing an annual biodiversity survey of the region in order to assess the effectiveness of maintaining the traditional farming practices in protecting this outstanding area. The work is being completed with ADEPT, a Romanian based NGO, with the Opwall teams providing annual data on a series of biodiversity performance and farming criteria.