Mozaic Project, Cluj
The Eastern Hills of Cluj is a recently-designated SCI in north-west Romania. The topography of NW-SE orientated valleys creates a marked contrast between the warm south-facing slopes, with their steppic grasslands and slumping microtopography and the damp grasslands of the north-facing slopes, many traditionally used as hay meadows. This mosaic landscape supports not only a range of Annex 1 habitats, but all 5 of the European species of Maculinea butterflies.
While the area is largely managed in a very low-intensity manner, and traditional land uses are still common, patterns of land use have undergone considerable shifts over the last 100 years, and the current changes, reflecting the massive social disruptions of recent years (and including trends towards abandonment of many of the most valuable areas), may pose significant threats to the conservation status of the site.
The Mozaic Project, now developing into the independent Mozaic Association, started as a collaboration between the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University, Bonn and the Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, with two aspects:
- funding data gathering to enable the writing of a first management plan for the site
- funding a pilot agri-environment programme to raise capacity in communes not at that time eligible for the comparable RDP-funded measures
EFNCP has funded work additional and complementary to this original project, concentrating on elucidating policy lessons from the area, through filling in knowledge gaps and quantifying many of the processes observed by project staff. A report of the 2010-11 work (8.539 KB) is available, with further details on some of the ongoing aspects of the work available from email@example.com. Some aspects were also reported in a conference poster. Some key issues arising from the work to date include:
- How to assess nature value and the role of management practices and farming systems in maintaining these values; how should continuity be identified and what valued and what future scenarios are socio-economically and ecologically sustainable?
- Difficulties with basic CAP rules, including the minimum parcel size chosen in Romania.
- How to target RDP schemes - the methodologies currently used, including, very importantly, the designation of eligible areas for agri-environment, are seriously flawed. Mowing and grazing have very different costs and very different ecological roles but are not distinguished in CAP schemes.
EFNCP funding, delivered under our DG Environment work programme, has also supported wider awareness-raising work in the local community, including a range of leaflets on, for example, the project and local ethnobotany.