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Reintroduction of oak species into the Ciuc Basin

We initiated the reintroduction of the oak (Quercus sp.) species into the Ciuc-basin.

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Until the 17th century, oaks were widespread here, but they disappeared due to anthropogenic causes - firewood harvesting, converting large areas for agriculture. The place of the former oak forests was occupied by pastures, hayfields, arable land.

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Terraced fields in the Ciuc-basin, near Racu village - formed by centuries of agricultural activities in place of  deciduous forests

Due to socio-economic changes in rural areas, many former agricultural land is abandoned and the surface of these abandoned marginal agricultural land increases every year. A slow natural reforestation process is beginning, but the sources of propagules (acorns) are no longer present nearby, the natural recolonisation of these lands by the oak (Quercus sp.) species will not be possible without anthropogenic intervention.

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Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) seedling planted in 2020 near Sandominic

Beside their historic presence in the Ciuc Valley, these tree species are especially valuable because

  1. Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) are among the few tree species that will be resistant to the expected effects of global climate change (extended drought periods and milder, dryer winters) and their range will probably expand.

  2. Oak forests sustain a high level of biodiversity

  3. Oak trees are a long-living tree species, storing in their biomass significant amounts of atmospheric carbon sequestered by photosynthesis during the growing season.

 

The small planted oak groves will function as ecological stepping stones, helping the trees to slowly recolonise the abandoned agricultural lands with the aid of birds (especially jays). 

We have already planted oak seedlings together with the Pando Association on a 3 hectare land surface acquired by the association near Sandominic village. This oak forest will become part of a living museum showcasing the original vegetation of the area.

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The Kurta-valley near Sandominic planted with oak seedlings  - the place of the future living museum
Maps of planted oak seedlings registered on the Transylmagica platform by the persons who acquired gifts from the Transylmagica webshop in 2021

In the planting season of the current year (2022) we will continue to plant oak trees in the Ciuc Basin, and will plant an oak grove near Bancu village.

The planting events of oak seedlings are open, public, community events where, in addition to the plantation workers, the local community and everybody can be present and plant a few or a lot of trees. In addition to this, all the volunteers receive additional oak seedlings which they can plant somewhere else in the Ciuc Basin.

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Community tree planting event organised near Sandominic in November 2021
Community tree planting event organised near Sandominic with the Pando Association in April 2021
Community tree planting event organised near Sandominic  with the Pando Association in November 2021
Community tree planting event organised near Bancu in April 2022
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The hillside to be planted in spring 2023
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