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Virgin forest in the heart of Europe

Establishing a wilderness conservation area in the Rumanian Carpathians

View across the Carpathian peaks. (Photo: Barbara & Christoph Promberger)

Europe's most important areas of virgin forest lie in the forested part of the Carpathians, especially in the Ukraine, Slovakia and in Romania. The Rumanian Carpathians are dominated by mixed mountain forest which are characterised primarily by pine forests and by mountain pines and Alpine meadows in the higher elevations. Brown bears, wolves, lynx, chamois and red deer live there.


The conservation areas, especially the national parks, set up by the Romanian government have many problems to contend with. The current return of forest areas to private individual ownership - including some parts in the conservation areas - is creating the threat of usage conflicts with the new owners. However, most of the former owners have no interest in the land and are generally willing to sell. This has given rise to a highly favourable, yet very narrow, time window in which large natural forest areas can be protected on a permanent basis.


In the Carpathian arc in and around the Piatra Craiului National Park, the Fundatia Conservation Carpathia (FCC) foundation is therefore planning a ca. 100,000 hectare private conservation area to supplement national conservation efforts. The foundation is hoping to make a decisive contribution to the preservation of important areas of virgin forest in the Romanian Carpathians. This is to be achieved above all through the purchase of land from funds donated mainly by private but also by public sponsors. Roughly 14,000 hectares of forest land are already under the permanent protection of the FCC.


We have been involved in this project since 2012.


  • Purchasing land to achieve the planned area of 100,000 hectares
  • Setting up monitoring of the region by rangers
  • Reforesting locations at risk of erosion
  • Planning and establishing a CARPATHIA centre including: offices, information centre, training centre for conservation area workers, visitor lodge
  • Planning and implementing a conservation plan for the entire Fagaras mountains
  • Protecting and monitoring wildlife