Carpathia, Europe's wilderness reserve

The idea for the project, and for setting up a special Foundation for the conservation of this Carpathian Region, came from the precarious state of wilderness in Europe. Being aware that less than 2% of Europe’s surface is still in its original state and taking advantage of the fact that the Romanian Carpathians host forests with the highest percentage of still virgin woodlands on the continent as well as a high variety of species, we decided to act. With the support of a consortium of private philanthropists within the Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC), around 20,000 ha of forests and alpine grasslands have been purchased since 2009 and are now protected. The ultimate aim is secure 50,000 ha of mainly forests, and to integrate this area into the larger protected areas landscape of Romania. Our goal is to create a new National Park hosting a world-class wilderness reserve in the Southern Romanian Carpathians, large enough to support significant numbers of large carnivores and to allow evolutionary processes to take place. The project involves Făgăraș Mountains Natura 2000 site, Piatra Craiului National Park, Natura 2000 site Raul Targului-Argesel-Rausor and Leaota Mountain which together cover over 250,000 ha. Once the project has been completed, the new National Park should become an icon for conservation in Europe and an emblematic National Park on our continent. To achieve this ambitious goal, Foundation Conservation Carpathia carried out both field work and administrative activities focused on biodiversity conservation, which included human-wildlife conflict mitigation as well as support for local communities to develop a sustainable economy. 8,000 hectares of forests have been declared as non-intervention zones in the Făgăraș Mountains Natura 2000 management plan. Many habitats and species are targeted for conservation/restoration.

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