Foundation Conservation Carpathia was established in 2009 to create what will become Europe’s largest wilderness reserve in the Southern Carpathian Mountains of Romania.
The mountainous forests and grasslands of the Carpathians are under severe threat from uncontrolled logging of virgin forests and unsustainable hunting practices. Foundation Conservation Carpathia is protecting and restoring this precious ecosystem by purchasing key areas of virgin forest, taking on all available hunting concessions, assuming management of the Fagaras Mountains Natura 2000 site and engaging local stakeholders and communities in sustainable enterprises.
Our Role: Foundation Conservation Carpathia has already attracted significant capital from philanthropic investors across Europe, which has enabled the purchase of an initial 30,000 hectares of land 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 the foundation’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 in early 2016 through a mixture of public and private investment.
Outcomes: Foundation Conservation Carpathia aims to create what will become Europe’s largest wilderness reserve, showcasing the ways in which a 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.