Valuing the mountain hay meadows


2012 - 2013



The second hay meadow conservation project was lauched in 2012. As the title reflects we put an emphasis on valuing. In this sense valuing means creating a value and this can be achieved through different methods.


The main objective of the project is to make rural population and society in general understand and value the natural, cultural and economic aspects of the mountain hay meadows in the Eastern Carpathians and to ensure that local communities continue use them in a sustainable manner ecologically as well as socially and economically.


Specific objectives:
  • Maximizing local's access to existing financial resources that originate from the sustainable use of mountain hay meadows.
  • Improving conservation of mountain hay meadows and grassland habitats of community importance with the participation of the local community and the public.
  • Creating a database and photo-film archive with multiple functions: resource for education, decision making, integrated management plans and sustainable usage methods.


The implementation area of the project is the Pogány-havas microregion, from Csíksomlyó to Gyimesbükk.


Timeline: 18 months, January 2012 - July 2013.


Sponsors: UNDP GEF-SGP, Barbara Knowles Fund, Misgurnus Association and other donors.


Partners: Zöld Székelyföld Association, Csíkszéki Erdélyi Kárpát Association and the European Conservation Action Network.





Mountain hay meadows - hot spots of biodiversity and traditional culture


2009 - 2011



The project aimed to help the sustainable use of hay meadows and thus to maintain high biodiversity, important ecosystem services and healthy local communities. Our land is of exceptional natural value, with many protected areas, but many yet unknown that are not protected. These include different types of meadows still managed using traditional practices.


We emphasize that traditional land use practices are still present and viable in the local communities of our area. It is of utmost importance to document and preserve traditional knowledge on land use management because this provides high resilience against global challenges such as climate change and economic crises.


Traditional land use practices in our area are threatened by forces of the market economy and economic development. For example, EU regulations put severe restrictions on milk quality, starting in January 2010, which imperil traditional sources of income for the local population.


We believe that the traditional systems for milk production are of key importance to the local maintenance of agroecosystems with a high biodiversity and provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including carbon storage with direct effect on global climate change, and sustainable income generation through ecotourism and ecological products.


Timeline: 2009 September – 2011 February


Main objectives:
  • To create a database on hay meadow biodiversity
  • To create integrated management plans for two sites
  • To create 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


The project was implemented by the Pogány-havas (Pagan Snow Cap) Association and is funded by the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, the Barbara Knowles Fund, the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism with funding from the European Commission (DG Environment) and donations. Partners of the project are the Sapientia University, the Harghita County Council, the Environmental Protection Agency of Harghita county and Fundatia ADEPT.


Read about our conference about hay meadows, which was held on 7-9 June 2010 in the Boros Guesthouse, Lunca de Jos village. More information...