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Mountain hay meadows – hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture Conference in Gyimesközéplok 7-9. June 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Mountain hay meadows – hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture Conference in Gyimesközéplok 7-9. June 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mountain hay meadows – hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture Conference in Gyimesközéplok 7-9. June 2010

2 The Pagan Snow Cap Microregional Association Founded in 1999 Members: 23,000 residents of which 36% Székely, 64% Csángó, both Hungarian minorities and a small number of Romanians, Gypsies and other ethnic groups. - The Harghita County Council - 6 municipalities (33 villages) - 11 NGOs - 9 local enterprises

3 Goals and fields of activity Our main goal is to initiate and execute rural development in the area, paying special attention to: – Environment – Agriculture – Tourism – Cultural heritage and traditions... in continuous co-operation with local citizens.

4 The area

5 Gyimes Csík

6 Land management Csík –Plough lands 20% –Meadow34% –Pasture22% –Forest25% –Average farm size: 4-5 ha in 5-6 pieces 80% of farms eligible for SAPS (single area payment scheme) Gyimes –Plough lands 2% –Meadow27% –Pasture33% –Forest38% –Average farm size: 2-3 ha or less in 4-6 pieces 55% of farms eligible for SAPS 71% 47%

7 Music, dance & costumes

8 Handicrafts

9 Local products

10 Eco tourism

11 Traditional architecture

12 Nature and landscape conservation

13 Creating landscape Patchwork

14 Creating landscape

15 Why are traditional farmers important? Conservation of biodiversity and landscape - the country could not afford if it had to pay people to do it. Pagan Snow Cap Microregion: people -> work on fields -> minimum wage half time = 75 /month -> 9 million /year They provide food, occupation and income for at least 50% of the population of Romania, which the country could not replace. Low-impact tourism, organic accreditation, high quality food production and other rural businesses that can profit from the natural and cultural treasures without destroying them. They illustrate to the rest of Europe how sustainable agricultural systems can maintain a rich biodiversity while feeding the population.

16 The project The goal of our project is double –on one hand we aim to protect and maintain hay meadows by encouraging local communities to continue traditional farming; –on the other hand we use the presence of hay meadows to help maintain and increase the life quality of local communities. Timeline: 2009 September – 2011 February. Funded by: UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Barbara Knowles Fund, European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism with funding from the European Commission (DG Environment) and donations. Total funds: USD grant USD own contribution. Professional partners: Sapientia University, Hargita County Council, Environmental Protection Agency of Hargita county and ADEPT Foundation.

17 Project objectives and activities Main objectives: To create a database on hay meadow biodiversity; To create integrated management plans for two sites; To make benefits for landowners from biodiversity and sustainable land use. Main activities: Inventory of meadow biodiversity (plant, bird, amphibian, reptile, selected invertebrate groups); Consulting local farmers about land use; Promoting the International Year of Biodiversity and bringing together knowledge about meadow biodiversity, rural sociology and economy; Proposing sites to be included in the Natura 2000 network; Making and proposing local policies regarding sustainable land use and nature conservation; Compiling management plans and best practices guide; Creating environmental education trails; Increasing income from milk production (e.g. cheese making training course, purchase of equipment to meet milk quality standards); Integrating project results in local school curricula and outdoor activities.

18 Achievements until today Managed to do a part of the inventory of meadow biodiversity (biological survey); Managed to elaborate the documentation that is necessary for proposing areas in the Natura 2000 system; Started filming to create documentary about land usage; Launched project and conference website; Started to organize conference (registration is now open); Bought equipment for measuring milk quality for three milk collecting points; Consulted locals about traditional land usage (sociological survey).

19 Thank you for your attention! Rodics Gergely

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