The Carpathian Mountains of Romania hold Europe’s largest remaining virgin forests and are home to wolves, bears, lynx and many other important species. They are under severe threat from uncontrolled logging and unsustainable hunting practices. Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC) was established in 2009 to secure land for conservation and sustainable economic development, creating in the process what will become Europe’s largest wilderness reserve.
Our Role: FCC has already attracted over 100 million Euros of capital from philanthropic investors across Europe, which has enabled the purchase of an initial 30,000 hectares of virgin forests in key strategic locations. The European Union’s LIFE programme is financing an ambitious restoration programme within the project’s core area. Conservation Capital is currently scoping and designing a conservation enterprise programme which will help to finance FCC’s work in future and provide the basis for engagement of local stakeholders and communities in a range of enterprises, including ecotourism, sustainable forestry, organic agriculture, renewable energy and related service sectors. In order to finance these enterprises, Conservation Capital is designing a dedicated financing facility which we hope to capitalise during 2016 through a mixture of public and private investment.
Outcomes: FCC aims to showcase the ways in which a large, wild and natural ecosystem can generate a significant range of economic and social benefits for Romania. The conservation enterprise programme will be unique in Europe in that it will be the first time that a dedicated enterprise programme has formed an integral part of a land-purchasing initiative on this scale. The resulting enterprise-driven wilderness reserve, which blends philanthropic and commercial capital, will serve as a model for replication in other European natural areas over the next 5-10 years.