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Domains of interest

  1. Conservation of rare plant and animal species threatened with extinction in Romania.

In Aquaterra's perspective, our freshwater bodies, including ponds, rivers, and lakes, have recorded the lowest ichthyofaunal biodiversity in recent years. Out of over 95 species of freshwater fish, 10 have completely disappeared, and another 48 are endangered, while about 26 species are in imminent danger, leaving only 12 species unaffected. This serious threat is generated by the alarming increase in illegal fishing and overfishing.

Additionally, Aquaterra is actively involved in the study and conservation of very rare orchid species, assessing the level of wildness of mountain meadows and hayfields within several protected areas. We are also concerned with building microhabitats that meet the optimal conditions for the reproduction of native amphibians and reptiles, whose conservation status is threatened and being identified only in a few protected natural areas

2. Youth Education and Development of Ecological Civic Spirit

Currently, our team is intensively working on setting up a space dedicated to children eager to familiarize themselves with biodiversity and to receive education in a naturalistic setting. Thus, we encourage the education and development of young people in an ecological manner and from a sustainable biodiversity perspective.

The youth center is equipped with high-resolution microscopes, binocular magnifiers, photo and video cameras, as well as a specialized library. All these resources provide the essential and practical foundation for effective youth training, contributing to a positive change in their perception of nature.

3. Fundamental and Applied Scientific Research in Environmental Sciences and Biodiversity, Bioeconomy, Aquaculture, Biotechnologies

Our research efforts in the field of aquaculture have been dedicated to conducting fundamental scientific research on various economically significant fish species, with a focus on sturgeons, African tilapia (Tilapia nilotica), and African catfish (Clarias gariepinus). We have carried out numerous experiments on the biological filtration of aquaculture waters, with the results being recognized in various national projects and materialized in patents and new technologies that have been officially registered.

In addition, we have focused on the research and production of new types of fish feed, as well as the development of valuable medicines for treating diseases in fish farms. At the same time, we have investigated new technologies for producing live food, including phytoplanktonic and zooplanktonic species, insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates essential for the nutrition of all stages, with a special emphasis on fish fry.

These research activities reflect our commitment to innovation in the field of aquaculture, putting our expertise at the service of the sustainable development of the fishing industry. By patenting new technologies and approaches, we aspire to make significant contributions to the efficiency and sustainability of this vital sector.

4. Technological Transfer to Farmers in Mountain Areas

Our station, known as "Noah's Little Ark," has among its objectives the organization of training sessions dedicated to farmers and experts in various economic fields of the mountain regions. These sessions are designed to teach participants how to develop new and prosperous businesses in this specific environment. The areas addressed include the establishment of medicinal plant farms, the implementation of super-intensive aquaculture farms for the breeding of valuable fish species, the cultivation of mushrooms in specialized farms, the introduction of horticultural plants from other continents to the mountainous landscape of Romania, and their acclimatization to local conditions. An important aspect of this initiative is the patenting of new technologies, varieties, and breeds of plants and animals adapted to the specific conditions of mountainous areas. Through these efforts, we aim to support innovation and contribute to the diversification of economic activities in the mountainous regions of Romania. Thus, we seek not only to promote sustainability but also to encourage prosperity and development in harmony with the unique characteristics of the mountain environment.

5. Development of Agriculture in Mountain Areas

After the 1990s, local communities in the Carpathian region faced economic difficulties, becoming poorer compared to those in the plains regions. Consequently, without viable economic alternatives, intensive forestry exploitation was resorted to, reaching unprecedented levels in Romania's history. This practice endangered the country's specific temperate continental climate, contributing to the aridification of the entire region, with significant consequences. However, there are sustainable and economically viable alternatives. These include the establishment of specialized vegetable farms in mountain horticulture, vegetable growing, aquaculture, plant biotechnologies, medicinal plant cultivation, and various species of mushrooms. Unfortunately, in the mountainous area, predominantly a single economic activity has developed - logging, becoming the greatest threat to the entire mountain biodiversity. In the context of these challenges, we have proposed to implement training programs and economic consultancy to support the establishment of new investments in the aforementioned alternative fields. These initiatives not only bring economic profitability but also promote environmentally friendly and biodiversity-friendly activities. It is essential to cultivate such initiatives in mountain communities, thus offering hope and sustainability for the future of these regions.

6.Expansion of Reservations and NATURA 2000 Sites

The Ecological Society Aquaterra responsibly managed six NATURA 2000 sites as a custodian during 2013-2018. This involvement represented a significant contribution to the conservation and protection of the biological diversity and unique natural habitats of these sites. However, unfortunately, legislative developments have led to changes in the management of these sites. In July 2018, through the adoption of Decision No. 681/2019 of the Romanian Government, the Ministry of the Environment, the National Agency for Natural Protected Areas, all NATURA 2000 sites in Romania were taken over by the National Agency for Protected Areas, in a process that involved the forced transfer of responsibilities from non-governmental organizations. This legislative change had a significant impact on the management structure, but we recognize the efforts and commitment of the Ecological Society Aquaterra during the period they administered these NATURA 2000 sites, contributing to the conservation of Romania's natural heritage.

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