‘Model’ wilderness area in Alps based on Wild Europe definition

Gateway to the Sulzbachtäler/Hohe Tauern Wilderness © Josef Schrank

Author: Bernhard Kohler, WWF Austria

A wilderness area covering 6,700 hectares has been unveiled in the North West of Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria, following formal designation in 2019.

This is based on criteria from the Wild Europe definition and comes under the aegis of the Salzburg municipality.

The wilderness area has great promise as a model for the restoration strategy to implement targets in the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy – echoing Wild Europe’s own objectives of strict protection for at least 10% of EU and non-EU terrestrial areas.

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Creating a new wilderness national park for Romania

Boia Mica Valley in the Fagaras Mountains, a so-far untouched haven of virgin forest, Matthias Schickhofer

Wild Europe has been involved in this vision for the South Eastern Carpathians since its inception in 2009

Established by Fundatia Conservation Carpathia with its directors Christoph and Barbara Promberger, the project aims to create an initial 50,000 hectare wilderness reserve adjacent to the Piatra Craiului National Park, and extending Westwards into the Fagaras Mountains. The eventual objective will be to provide a new National Park for Romania covering some 2050,000 hectares.

Project activities include acquisition of extensive tracts of forest, much of it being old growth or virgin (a Romanian definition), as well as Alpine grasslands. Some 22,000 hectares have been purchased to date, with plans for leasing where ownership is not feasible.

Large hunting concessions have been bought, aiming to boost chamois, red deer and boar numbers, which in turn enables enriched populations of wolf, bear and lynx.

Alongside this are programmes for LIFE+ funded restoration of clear felled or degraded forest and riverine habitats, with reintroduction of ungulates including bison and raptors.

Ecotourism and other forms of non-extractive enterprise are also helping to bring income and employment to local communities. FCC additionally manages two model farms that can provide support with husbandry and other management aspects.