Romainia - Mountain Forests

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hamadryad
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Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:14 am

Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by hamadryad » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:49 pm

Just got back from Romania, a great trip all round visiting the last villages to still be working the trees and land the old ways, living in wooden thatched houses that are a unique style to the region. I was there to learn about rural Romania, pollarding, lime burning etc. Unfortunately I did not come a cross any pristine forest, but spoke to an archaeologist who assures me that pristine forest does exist in the Carpathia regions (mountain range) I hope to return sometime next year to that zone. However I did discover beech forest managed heavily by man managed for many many generations, a landscape entirely worked and worked hard by the peoples of the region (Alba county)

These mountain forests have been repeatedly felled and regenerated some through the coppiced stools of those felled. A remarkable area with the most rapid and healthy regrowth and re generation, which is undoubtedly due to the cycle of felling and harvesting sustaining a stage of succession in the fungal community that is of course mycorrhizae, with Ceps and Chanterelles being a huge by product supplying a massive export from the region in the main harvest. Collection points throughout the region buy the fruits of this very productive system off the local gatherers and many are shipped to Italy and other European countries, along with Bilberries and other fruits which are also abundant because of the mosaic forest/pasture habitat that is sustained by the communities activities.

The purpose of the trip in co-operation with Grampus ( http://www.grampusheritage.co.uk/ ) was to learn about the old ways and skills of the region and design projects that will sustain the skills and knowledge of these communities for the long term. Sadly the younger generations are leaving the old villages to seek work across Europe and live a modern life, and who can blame them? and its most urgent we rescue these traditional skills, peoples heritage, culture and knowledge before its too late. it was evident that the decline has begun to show, it was sad to see such a wonderful way of life in decline. this way of life must be preserved, we have so much to learn from it about truly sustainable ways of land management on a landscape scale, for they have made it an art for thousands of years here.

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A local woman feeding her cow (milk for cheese etc) with ash "Shreddings" normally done when hay is exhausted over a long winter and supplementary fodder must be added to the diet. These cows and other livestock are kept in barns all winter and overnight (Wolves and Bears roam wild here) This Lady and her son very genourously not only shared information about the ways but gave us this demonstration. A priceless and rare image.
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Trees are ring barked long before they are harvested, a practice evolved of the economy of effort needed to eek out a living from hard land. the wood seasons standing and dries making it half the wieght, a bit of lateral thinking!
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Beech with bilberry
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The Carline thistle a prairie/pasture lime stone perennial
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The wood working skills of these Romanian villagers is outstanding
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Fomitopsis pinicola a.k.a the red banded polypore, common on broadleaf and spruce in the region (here on Fagus sylvatica)
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These Fagus are ring barked as described (different times) one is now ready to be harvested for use, the other in another year or so.
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Bilberries doing well in a forest clearing created by felling
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Fagus with F. fommentarius
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The tree hunter my ol mate Rob McBride standing in amongst regrowth from a felled Q. petrea, which made up the majority of this particular woodland.
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Nothing is wasted, the wood stack to the left is strips from the offcuts from milling timber, they will be used for many items, the bark covered outer planks are often used to create fencing boards. The stack further to the rear is produced from pollards and has many uses.
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This scene shows the high pastures used for hay production, cattle never graze here, they are taken to higher pastures, these hay meadows reserved purely for winter feed production. This produces a rich wildflower habitat where butterflies and many species of Grass hopper thrive.
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Willow pollard close to homestead and a typical Romanian haystack, brought down from the high meadow to be kept close to the overwintering catlle as snow in winter means getting out is impossible, everything is based close to home in preparation for the snow
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There are so many skills to preserve, tapestry is a common theme.
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Even an old Hay fork broken has a use! recycling taken to extremes is a common theme.
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Everything is done for economy of movements, here an Ash (F. excelsior) pollard used to supplement winter hay stocks is right next to the barn the cows are kept in overwinter, keeping transport to a minimum.
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Typical beech regeneration on the mountains
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edfrank
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by edfrank » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:54 pm

Anthony,

I have been looking at your posts on Facebook. Fantastic post! I thought it deserved its own discussion thread rather than just being an add-on to the beech forests discussion.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

hamadryad
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by hamadryad » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:04 pm

Thanks Ed, good idea too it does deserve its own thread.

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James Parton
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by James Parton » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:07 pm

I have worked with two guys from Romania and one woman. It makes for interesting conversation.

The Carpathian culture looks not much different from the Appalachian one I know. They do things more as we used to do a few decades back. Thatched barns I don't think were ever common here though wood shingled barns were.
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

hamadryad
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by hamadryad » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:28 pm

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from what I saw wooden slates where also common and suspect this came later, and was more common in the valley depths as opposed to high on the hillsides here. modern tiles also making an appearance, probably introduced by the Turks/Romans?

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dbhguru
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:07 pm

Anthony,

Your story is a tremendous contribution to NTS. Really interesting stuff. Please keep it flowing. The blend of nature and culture, especially from another continent is class act all the way. Thanks.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

hamadryad
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by hamadryad » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:10 pm

Thanks Bob, i shall do as requested!

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:43 pm

I believe the forests and mountains of Romania also served as a location where much of the Civil War genre movie "Cold Mountain" was filmed.
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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James Parton
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by James Parton » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:52 pm

The History Channel also filmed the documentary " Hatfields and McCoys " in Romania because the mountains look a lot like the Appalachians.

But before I knew that I noticed the trees looked a little different. For one, no dead hemlocks and I also noticed what looked like Norway spruce growing common in a forest environment. The forests were close to ours but just enough different that I could detect it. My wife told me that only I would have noticed that. I said " Nah, any hillbilly who know his forests could tell it was not quite home ".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatfields_ ... iseries%29
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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KoutaR
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Re: Romainia - Mountain Forests

Post by KoutaR » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:35 pm

Antony,

With a laser rangefinder you could do amazing discoveries in Romanian pristine forests. Many potential European height records are growing there. I have written down some locations if you need tips where to go to measure.

Kouta

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