Wild Carpathians: Developing Europe’s Largest Private Sector Wilderness Reserve in Romania


Context: Foundation Conservation Carpathia (‘FCC’) was established in 2009 to create what will become Europe’s largest wilderness reserve in the Southern Carpathian Mountains of Romania.  The Carpathians are under severe threat from uncontrolled logging of virgin forests and unsustainable hunting practices.  FCC 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: FCC has already invested more than €100 million to purchase an initial 30,000 hectares of land in key strategic locations and the EU LIFE programme is financing an ambitious restoration programme within the project’s core area.  Having completed initial due diligence, Conservation Capital is now designing an ambitious enterprise-driven programme to help finance FCC’s work into the future and also incentivise the positive engagement of local stakeholders and communities in a range of enterprises, including ecotourism, sustainable forestry, organic agriculture, renewable energy and related service sectors.  

Outcomes: FCC aims to create what will become Europe’s largest wilderness reserve, showcasing ways in which a wild and natural ecosystem can generate a significant range of economic and social benefits for Romania.  This will be the first time in Europe that a dedicated conservation enterprise programme has formed an integral part of a land-purchasing initiative on this scale, and considerable scope exists to replicate it elsewhere.