Wood-pasture management in southern Transylvania (Romania): From communal to where?

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Wood-pastures developed in many areas of Europe as a shared community resource under the governance of local institutions (for example Vera, 2000; Chételat et al., 2013; see also Bieling and Konold, this volume). While such communal governance systems have largely disappeared in northern and western Europe, they remain widespread in Romania today as a means of grassland and forest regulation (Mantescu, 2009; Sutcliffe et al., 2013). This chapter looks at wood-pasture governance in the region of Târnava Mare in southern Transylvania (central Romania), an area rich in wood-pastures that have been important productive elements of lowintensity farming for centuries, and continue to be actively farmed. It describes their development and structure, stable historical communal management, the destructive impact of the communist era and challenges faced today as Romania is entering a new era of agricultural development. Most villages in the Târnava Mare region have at least one wood-pasture, and they are important not only as a means of sustainable agroforestry, supporting both production and high levels of biodiversity, but also are tightly linked to the cultural history of the region as a community resource. Nevertheless, increasing incidences of felling, burning, changes in management practices and abandonment evidence the fact that the relevance of wood-pastures for local communities is waning and the communal management is failing. These problems cannot be sufficiently addressed by a classical conservation ‘reserve’ approach - there are simply too many wood-pastures and the conservation infrastructure in Romania is too weak. Instead, we discuss some opportunities to strengthen communal institutions to support community use and build on the fact that wood-pastures in Transylvania are still active parts of the farming landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Wood-pastures in Transition : A Social-ecological Approach
EditorsTibor Hartel, Tobias Plieninger
Number of pages16
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Publication date01.01.2014
ISBN (Print)9780415869898
ISBN (Electronic)9781135139032
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014