The LIFE Connect Carpathians (LCC) project aims to establish and maintain a functional regional ecological network between the Apuseni Mountains and the Southern Carpathians in Romania. Known as the Apuseni – Southern Carpathians Corridor within the project, this is in one of the most important ecological corridors in Europe.
This landscape corridor is one of Romania’s most important and threatened landscapes and is the only route through which bears, wolves and other wildlife can move between the Western and Southern Carpathian Mountains, as well as being important for the dispersal of these species to other regions of Europe.
The corridor’s integrity is threatened as habitats of significant biodiversity value are being fragmented and lost due to a variety of factors which include large -scale infrastructure development, unsustainable forest and hunting management practices, unsustainable natural resource exploitation, changing agricultural practice and restitution, land abandonment and poaching. These lead to degraded critical habitats and landscape features within the corridor; fragmenting ecological connectivity and making it increasingly hostile for large carnivores, which are keystone species in this landscape.
Fauna & Flora International, working in partnership with local NGO, Asociaţia Zarand, the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forestry and the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Gendarmerie, is focusing on enhancing connectivity within the corridor, securing and restoring critical habitat and landscape features to facilitate wildlife movement through connectivity ‘pinch points’, and on the promotion of sympathetic land management in the wider area.
By bringing together stakeholders involved in land management in the Apuseni – Southern Carpathians Corridor region, the LCC Project will develop and implement integrated landscape scale conservation measures that enhance biodiversity and benefit stakeholders. The project will seek to align conservation activities with the needs of stakeholders, in order to enhance the conservation status of wolves and bears, their habitats and prey, to generate positive biodiversity outcomes.