Lessons learnt from 20 years of floodplain forest restoration in the Lower Danube

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Stephanie Mansourian, Neli Doncheva, Kostadin Valchev, Daniel Vallauri

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The Lower Danube extends along 1000 km across Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine before it flows into the Black Sea. Decades of human modification of the natural landscape have left the islands, the river and its banks degraded. These modifications included conversion to agriculture, hybrid poplar plantations, introduction of nonnative invasive species, infrastructure, and pollution. Riparian forests, along the banks of the Danube are important habitats for wildlife, protect the riverbanks from erosion and act as a filter for water quality. In 2000, a joint declaration was signed by the Environment Ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova to establish a Lower Danube Green Corridor. This agreement commits the four countries to ensure preservation and restoration of valuable landscapes in lower Danube. Throughout the following two decades a series of projects have been implemented within this overarching framework. WWF’s involvement in forest landscape restoration in the region started at the turn of the 21st century. Activities focused on capacity building, policy work, removal of dykes and sources of degradation, trials on small plots to determine best methods for restoring the forest dynamics (field interventions, site preparation, removal of invasive species, active restoration). In this complex, multi-country context, where the fate of forests is not only dependent on humans, but also on the hydrological cycle, a number of lessons are highlighted. Lessons learned reflect various aspects of restoration – from advocacy and transboundary collaboration through on-the field practical experience and application of innovative restoration approaches to consideration of local socio-economic aspects.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program