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Domains of interest

Conservation of Rare Species of Plants and Endangered Animals in Romania

In the context of Aquaterra, our freshwater bodies, ponds, rivers, and lakes have seen the lowest biodiversity of fish species in recent years. Out of over 95 species of freshwater fish, 10 have completely disappeared, and another 48 are on the brink of extinction, while approximately 26 species are in imminent danger, leaving only 12 species unaffected. This serious threat is driven by the alarming increase in illegal fishing and overfishing.

Additionally, Aquaterra is actively involved in studying and conserving extremely rare orchid species, assessing the level of wilderness of mountain meadows and pastures within several protected areas. We are also concerned with creating microhabitats that meet optimal conditions for the reproduction of indigenous amphibians and reptiles whose conservation status is endangered and which are identified only in a few protected natural areas.

Youth Education and Development of Ecological Civic Spirit

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

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.

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

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

Furthermore, we have focused on researching and producing new types of fish feed, as well as on the development of valuable medicines for treating diseases in fish farms. We have also investigated new technologies for the production of live feed, including phytoplankton, zooplankton, insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates essential for the nutrition of all stages, with 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 fish farming industry. Through patenting new technologies and approaches, we aspire to make significant contributions to the efficiency and sustainability of this vital sector.

Technological Transfer to Farmers in Mountainous Areas

Our resort, known as "The Little Noah's Ark," aims to organize training sessions dedicated to farmers and experts from various mountain economic sectors. These sessions are designed to teach participants how to develop new and prosperous businesses in this specific environment. Among the areas covered are the establishment of medicinal plant farms, the implementation of super-intensive aquaculture farms for the breeding of valuable fish species, mushroom cultivation in specialized farms, the introduction of horticultural plants from other continents into the Romanian mountain landscape, 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 the mountains. Through these efforts, we aim to support innovation and contribute to the diversification of economic activities in Romania's mountainous regions. Thus, we aim not only to promote sustainability but also to encourage prosperity and development in harmony with the unique characteristics of the mountain environment.

Development of Agriculture in Mountainous Areas

After the 1990s, local communities in the Carpathian region experienced economic difficulties, becoming poorer compared to those in the plains. As a result, without viable economic alternatives, there was intensive exploitation of forests, reaching unprecedented levels in Romania's history. This practice has endangered the specific temperate continental climate of the country, contributing to the aridization of the entire region, with significant consequences.

However, there are sustainable and economically viable alternatives. Among these are the establishment of specialized plant farms in mountain horticulture, vegetable growing, aquaculture, plant biotechnologies, cultivation of medicinal plants, and various mushroom species. Unfortunately, in the mountainous area, predominantly one economic activity has developed - forest cutting, becoming the biggest threat to the entire mountain biodiversity.

In the context of these challenges, we have set out to implement training and economic consulting programs to support the establishment of new investments in the mentioned alternative fields. These initiatives not only bring economic profitability but also promote environmentally friendly activities and biodiversity. It is essential to cultivate such initiatives in mountain communities, thereby offering hope and sustainability for the future of these regions.

Expansion of Reserves and NATURA 2000 Sites

The Ecological Society Aquaterra responsibly managed six NATURA 2000 sites as custodians from 2013 to 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, by adopting Decision No.681/2019 of the Government of Romania, the Ministry of Environment, the National Agency for Protected Natural 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 Aquaterra Ecological Society during the period they managed these NATURA 2000 sites, contributing to the conservation of Romania's natural heritage.

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