Mountain hay meadows – economic, social and environmental value


Conference at the Boros Guesthouse, Gyimesközéplok, Romania

23-24 May 2013



Click to see:

The conference programme.

Presentations and abstracts.

Conference pictures.





European policies put increasing emphasis on improving the economic assessment of the benefits provided by nature to society (ecosystem services), but the methodology of this valuation is not yet fully developed. As such, benefits from nature, and in our case, mountain meadows are not fully reflected in the policies which seek to protect them.


This conference will bring together experts and practitioners in various fields (i.e. farmers, biologists, sociologists, economists, ethnographers, policy makers and NGOs in Romania and abroad) to discuss and improve the appreciation, conservation and sustainable management of hay meadows.


Another objective of the conference is to gather local and international knowledge about the cultural, economic and natural aspects of mountain hay meadows and to discuss different scenarios for the future.


The event will build on the successful conference in 2010, "Mountain hay meadows - hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture." During the two days we expect about 50 participants and we are planning several presentations, discussions and field trips.





The primary outcome will be an improved understanding of the value of mountain meadows. The conference will serve as a tool in raising public awareness about the importance of this habitat type and the management of land. It will also serve as a database and a source of information for eco-tourism, environmental education and planning. It will provide practical help in nature protection and will outline a strategy to use the mountain meadows for agri-environmental purposes.


Main topics: valuing cultural and natural diversity, traditional ecological knowledge, local breeds and gene banks in relation to extensive agriculture, the health benefit and spiritual value of meadows, and meadow policy.


Abstracts, presentations and reports from the conference will be published on our project website and in scientific journals, and will be widely publicized through the media. We will use targeted reports to decision-makers to improve their understanding that mountain meadows have significant value beyond pure economic results from animal husbandry. These values should be explicitly recognized by policy instruments, including subsidies for agri-environment and rural development programs.


More information coming soon or contact Barbara Knowles.










Mountain hay meadows - hot spots of biodiversity and traditional culture


Conference at the Boros Guesthouse, Gyimesközéplok, Romania

7-9 June, 2010



Click to see:

His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales' letter to the conference.

Publication from hay meadow conference 2010

The conference booklet.

The conference programme.

Summaries of the talks.

Conference pictures.

List of participants.


The aims of the conference were:
- to bring together farmers, biologists, sociologists, economists, policy makers and NGOs for discussions about hay meadow conservation and sustainable management;
- to raise awareness about the conservation and social value of mountain hay meadows;
- to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity.


The themes of the conference included: Creation of the agricultural landscapes of Gyimes and Csik; Hay meadows and their biodiversity;  Hay meadow management in practice; Hill farming in a protected landscape, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Local attitudes to meadows: results from social surveys; Putting a value on traditional farming; Local perspective on sustainable rural development; Quality milk production; Adding value to meadow products through food and tourism.


Invited speakers presented their results, opinions and recommendations in their field. For other participants there was an opportunity to present research results as posters as well as participate in the workshops and field trips. The conference included a VIP reception (7 June), two mornings of talks (8-9 June), six workshops (Meadow management plans; Education opportunities from biodiversity; Ecotourism opportunities from biodiversity; Options for rural development in the region; Subsidies and grants for meadow management; Creating a business from quality milk products) and two field trips to the study areas of the project.



Speakers and Workshop Leaders:

Biró Róbert, Pogány-havas Association, RO

Cristian Gherghiceanu, ADEPT Foundation, Saschiz, RO

Csergő Anna-Mária, Sapientia University, Marosvásárhely, RO

Demeter László, Sapientia University, Csíkszereda, RO

Fraser Hugill, farmer and former head of conservation management, North Yorkshire National Park Authority, UK

Hartel Tibor, Mircea Eliade College, Sighișoara, RO

Herczeg Ágnes, Transpagony Landscape and Garden Architecture Office, RO

Jeremy Staniforth, Carpathian Secretariat, Bucharest, RO

Márton István, Harghita County Council, RO

Mátéffy Mária, Pogány-havas Association, RO

Molnár Zsolt, Institute of Ecology and Botany, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Nagy Benedek, Sapientia University, Csíkszereda, RO

Nate Page, ADEPT Foundation, Saschiz, RO

Owen Mountford, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK

Péter Pál, AGORA – Working Group for Sustainable Development, RO

Răzvan Popa, ADEPT Foundation, Saschiz, RO

Rodics Gergely, Pogány-havas Association, RO

Rodics Katalin, Hungarian Ministry of Environment and Water Management, Budapest

Sally Huband, European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism

Sándor Attila, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj, RO

Sárig Attila, Farmer and young entrepreneur, Gyimesbükk RO

Sólyom Andrea, Sapientia University, Csíkszereda, RO

Szőcs József, Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture, RO



Venue: Boros Guesthouses


Map of the microregion / Map of Gyimes


The conference was organised by the Pogány-havas (Pagan Snow Cap) Association, with Dr Barbara Knowles, Sheila Anderson and Demeter László.


Professional partners: Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Fundatia ADEPT, European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism,  Hargita Environmental Protection Agency.


The sponsors of the conference were the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, the Szülőföld (Homeland) Fund, the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism with funding from the European Commission (DG Environment), Harghita County Council and the Barbara Knowles Fund.