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Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania
Conservarea biodiversităţii şi dezvoltare comunitară în Transilvania

What did we do, in more detail?

Local consultations

The dry grasslands being protected under this project are managed by local farmers, and are their source of income. Local support for any conservation proposals is therefore essential for their success.

It was therefore essential to keep in regular contact with, and to discuss the project with farmers, to check that proposals in Conservation Action Plan were practical and acceptable.

Local consultations

We had regular meetings each year with farmers, individually, or in groups and associations, and with Town Halls and other community groups. The support of individual farmers, grazing associations, Town Halls and of the Local Action Group (Dealurile Tarnavelor) covering the area has been very helpful for the project success.

Mapping and creating inventory for a large area

The locating, mapping and assessing of grasslands in such an enormous area, 85,000 ha, presents a great challenge. To achieve this in the first phase of the project, we designed an innovative database, using the existing mapping system of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. This system divides farmland into Physical Blocks: using the same Physical Blocks allows good coordination with agri-environment schemes in the future, making the results more sustainable as they can linked more easily to future support payments.

Map of Physical Blocks, for agricultural mapping, adapted for the database
Map of Physical Blocks, for agricultural mapping, adapted for the database.

We also designed an innovative GIS mapping system, using slope (over 15 degrees slope) and inclination (S or SW inclination) to predict presence of the habitats. This was found to be over 90% accurate when field tested.

We identified by this GIS prediction 568 parcels if 6210* and 312 of 6240*. We were thus able to target our activities onto these parcels.

Demonstrations of equipment

We carried out many demonstrations of the innovative mower, Brielmaier, for scrub clearance. The Brielmaier allows speedy and energy efficient mowing of sloping grasslands: this helps farmers to maintain the sloping dry grasslands, now that hand mowing has become prohibitively expensive.

Two local contractors were trained for future use of the Brielmaier in the project area. This ensures future availability of the machine for sustainable project results. Martin Brielmaier, the inventor, is on the right, with a trainer from Germany and two Romanian trainees.

Clearing of scrub

Over 320 ha were cleared of scrub by the innovative Brielmaier mower. This made the land more productive for the current users of the land, and made them eligible for Common Agricultural Policy support payments, providing good incentives to keep the land in good condition once we had carried out the difficult job of clearing it.

Improving farmer access to a-e payments

We improved the long-term conservation of a larger area, by increasing farmer participation in grassland agri-environment schemes. This will provide long-term incentives for good management.

During project lifetime, over 3,800 ha of target grassland entered a special grassland management support measure as a result of ADEPT promotion. Five times the amount of land, and seven times the number of farmers, participated in agri-environment schemes, compared to neighbouring areas without an active NGO promoting agri-environment schemes.

Creating micro-reserves

Micro-reserves are small areas of special importance, which are protected under local management agreements between the NGO and the land manager.

Under the STIPA project, six biodiversity hotspots have been established on Town hall land, as micro-reserves with Town Hall agreements.

Micro-reserves are good not only for immediate protection of a site, but also for raising awareness of the importance of these types of grassland.

Developing new agri-environment schemes

Working directly with the Ministry of Agriculture, ADEPT successfully proposed new agri-environment measures at national level, effective from 2012.  This made an additional 26 communes eligible for grassland management support payments, many thousands of hectares for which farmers are now offered an incentive for good management. For the first time, farmers using the innovative Brielmaier mowers are eligible for the higher payments: an important precedent for the future of the dry grasslands many of which would otherwise be abandoned.

Publications

In order to raising local awareness of the value of the grasslands, we produced identification manuals for the grassland habitats, and for the distinctive flowers and butterflies found within them,  in Romanian for schools, farmers and Romanian visitors, and in English for foreign visitors.


ADEPT Butterfly Booklet
ADEPT Wildflowers bookletADEPT habitats booklet

We also produced other materials such as planner calendars and newsletters for local interest.

Newsletters of the EU LIFE  STIPA project (conservation of priority dry grassland habitats in Sighisoara-Tarnava Mare area)

STIPA newsletter4 iunie 2012STIPA newsletter5 ianuarie 2013STIPA newsletter5 ianuarie 2013

 

Schools activities

The 8 schools in the area enjoyed the nature classes delivered through the project: over 280 children per year in classes V-VIII attended, as well as the teachers who were left with teaching materials – including slide presentations, booklets for identification – and the skills to carry out future monitoring of wildlife in their local grasslands.

Media and dissemination

Visits by EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloș and HRH The Prince of Wales resulted in millions of TV viewers hearing about STIPA project.

The project also received good coverage from local and national newspaper and radio, papers in academic journals and presentations at several conservation conferences.

Monitoring of the results of habitat restoration

We established monitoring at different scales, to check whether the clearing of the grassland had resulted in increased flower diversity and better status of these important habitats. We are pleased to report the even in the short 3-year project period, significant measurable improvement in flora was measured.

Monitoring 2011-2103 of grasslands cleared of scrub has revealed significant increases in floristic diversity.





Tarnava Mare SCI: Saving Transylvania’s Important Pastoral Ecosystem
STIPA
2010-2013

rule

LIFE+ STIPA Project Results

Objectives of the project

Reasons for this project

The Grasslands

What did we do, in more detail?

The Future

The STIPA team

Progress Reports

What did the project achieve in the end? Some highlights

Innovative GIS mapping for large-scale conservation –
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Conservation Action Plan agreed by Town halls –
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Innovative mowers demonstrated –
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Over 320 ha cleared of scrub, over 900 ha returned –
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Monitoring shows significant improvements in the –
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Flora and Lepidoptera Indicator species guides –
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8 schools, 280 children per year in nature classes –
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Over 1 million TV viewers in Romania have seen –
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High-profile visits have raised awareness further –
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New agri-environment measures designed –
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Sponsorul Oficial - Fundația Orange România