Biodiversity conservation has represented from the beginning an important topic for CCMESI. At first, we approached topics related to conservation practices and natural resource management in Iron Gates and Banat Mountains areas but slowly the study areas were extended.
One of the first studies was The Geoecological Study of the Romanian Danube Valley (1996-1998) which focused on spatial planning problems in the area and their projection in the environmental quality. In the same period, the study Environmental state in the intra-carpathian basins and Arrangement, protection and management of natural and sensitive areas supporting Romania’s natural capital evaluation was carried out.
The first complex project developed in the south-west of Romania was LIFE Nature LIFE00NATRO/0007171 Iron Gates Natural Park – management and conservation of habitats and species. The project had two adjacent themes: (i) Biodiversity, naturality and functionality characterizing the ecosystems in Banatului Mountains – protection, conservation and social management and (ii) Habitats’ structure and distribution in the Iron Gates Natural Park. In the framework of this project we:
- established the basis of Iron Gates Natural Park Administration;
- founded the research station at Eselnita;
- carry out concrete actions to protect the Hermann tortoise, the horned viper and some bird species;
- carry out an extensive awareness campaign almost on the entire area of the park.
Also three grants having as aim the conservation of Hermann tortoise were carried out with the support of Rufford Small Grant.
Between 2003 and 2010 we worked in Vrancea County for the protection of large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx) and we coordinated seveal conservation actions. We contributed to the establishment of Putna-Vrancea Natural Park in this area (the second important natural area created with our support) and we applied innovative study methods for large carnivores and for reducing the human-wildlife conflicts (radiotelemetry, cameras, electric fencing installations).
After 2005 we have started working to improve the management of Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park where we have applied concrete conservation measures in order to improve the management of this wetland (channel construction, dams repair).
Currently we are part of two conservation projects: (i) Integrating social network theory into systematic conservation planning, and (ii) Incorporating sources of uncertainty in large carnivore management and conservation in Romania.