Conservation of the HNV landscape
Landscape-scale conservation of Târnava Mare through Natura 2000 and agri-environment measures
This special landscape and its biodiversity - a High Nature Value landscape
- merits statutory protection and support. Landscape-scale conservation will prevent fragmentation of the extensive, rich, inter-dependent habitats.
It should be emphasised that the one essential ingredient for successful conservation of this and similar areas is providing support for small-scale farming communities to continue to manage their landscape extensively. These farmers and communities require economic viability and decent living conditions if they are to survive.
Small-scale mixed farming provides landscape-scale mosaic management with varied cutting times offering wildlife refuges (for flowers to fruit and for animals to feed and breed) and connectivity through landscape features. Classic nature conservation programmes can help, but the key is continued activity by local farmers.
The Natura 2000 Network
is the EU’s main instrument for nature conservation, under which habitats and associated species are protected, with economic activities permitted that do not damage those habitats and species identified for protection.
In the period 2004-2006, ADEPT and a team of university and NGO partners carried out the studies necessary to justify protection for the site. Mures Environment Protection Agency played a critical role in this process, with information, community consultation, and policy support. Further details of studies
As a result, in June 2008, the Târnava Mare area was approved by the Government of Romania and EU DG Environment as a Natura 2000 site (Site of Community Interest, SCI, under EU Habitats Directive) covering about 85,000 ha. The application received final EU Commission approval in December 2008. This is Romania’s largest SCI in the continental biogeographical region
Within a Natura 2000 area, a range of protection measures can be taken, suited to local conditions. ADEPT and collaborators are designing a comprehensive plan for managing and protecting the mosaic of habitats, and the species that inhabit them, which will be enforced, and farmers compensated, through Natura 2000 status.
Meanwhile, the immediate priority is to improve the future for agriculture and to increase the incomes of farmers, yet ensuring that nature conservation has a central role in countryside management. In the case of such a human-influenced, semi-natural landscape, traditional economic activities are in fact necessary to protect the habitats and species. These activities are supported under the Romanian National Rural Development Programme (NRDP). Further details
An important element for the future economic viability of the area is the proper valuation of ecosystem services, and compensatory payments to farmers and landowners where suitable in recognition of the broader environmental benefits that they provide by good land management.
Ecosystem services are goods and services of nature which humans utilise for themselves. The food we eat, the clean water we drink, fuel, fibre, but also the formation of soil, the natural decomposition of waste or the maintaining of a stable climate on earth are all ecosystem services.
For a brochure introducing the topic to non-experts, see Services of Nature
- a publication produced by CEEWEB for Biodiversity
, Romanian language version Serviciile Naturii
produced in collaboration with Ecouri Verzi
NGO, Cluj Napoca.
for further reading on the area.