“Project supported by the LIFE+ Programme of the European Union”

Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population in Romania

Layman’s Report 2021

total views 234 total views

Life for Bear

Activities

1

Activities

Preparatory Actions:

A.1 Socio-economic analysis of stakeholders

Action completed in 2015.

Result: Socio-economic study of stakeholders

The aim of this study was to identify the categories of stakeholders that are actively or collaterally involved or whose activity may affect the bear species and to know their needs, expectations and interests, as well as opinions on the bear species and its activity.

This study was useful in creating the network of relationships for collaboration to ensure the smooth running of project activities.

 

A.2 Analysis of human-bear conflicts at national and local level in the conflict area Brasov – Prahova Valley

Action completed in 2021.

The analysis of human-bear conflicts at national and local level in the conflict area Brasov – Prahova Valley, is ongoing until the end of the project, having an essential role in identifying and analyzing human-bear conflicts, so that the result of these analyzes is to be presented to authorities with a role in the management and conservation of the species.

Maps were made with the distribution of damage and conflicts caused by the bear species at the national level.

The results obtained in this activity contribute to determine the zoning of conflicts, implicitly to the identification of risk areas.

The results generated along the way were used to plan actions to manage / resolve / prevent conflict situations.

The activity continues with the monitoring of the conflict situations between human and bear and the collection of data, in order to prepare the final report.

 

A.3 Analysis of the bonitation (quality) of brown bear’s habitat at national level in terms of socio-economic development of the last decade

Action completed in September 2019.

Results:

  • Comparative distribution of the presence of the anthropogenic factor at the level of the project implementation area.
  • The optimal specimens supported by the natural habitat under natural conditions of the brown bear species, on each hunting fund in the area of ​​distribution of the species at national level.
  • The bonity of natural habitats at the level of hunting funds.
  • Practical guide for the analysis of the bonity of the habitats populated by the brown bear species.
  • Publication: Analysis of the bonity of the brown bear habitat at national level in terms of socio-economic development in the last decade in Romania, Editura Silvică, 2021

The publication is available only in romanian

 

Concrete conservation actions:

C.1 Revision of the action plan for the conservation of the brown bear population in Romania

Action completed in 2021.

Within this activity, the Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population in Romania was elaborated, a document that was approved by Ministerial Order no. 625/2018.

The action plan integrates elements from the project actions, actions that will be replicated. The Ministry of Environment submitted a project and obtained POIM structural funds to implement actions from this Plan.

The project “Implementation of the National Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population in Romania”, SMIS Code 136899, is carried out between 08.07.2021 – 31.12.2023, by the beneficiary Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, in partnership with the National Directorate of Forests ROMSILVA, National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry Marin Drăcea and Local Public Management of Forests Kronstadt RA.

The action plan for the conservation of the brown bear population in Romania was published under Forest Publishing House, in 2021, both in Romanian and in English.

Document available here

The activity continues in order to finalize the document containing the management plan for the conservation of the bear population in Romania.

 

C.2 Compiling of an operational team of specialists (BEAR CONFLICT) acknowledged, to solve conflict situations between human and bear

Action completed in 2021.

Results:

  • team of 10 specialists (Bear Conflict) approved by the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests.
  • a guide for assessing the damage caused by the bear (draft)
  • map with risk areas at national level (draft)

BEAR CONFLICT team members participated in various technical meetings on legislative amendments / completions regarding damages, compensations, conflicts and emergencies caused by wildlife species, especially brown bear species.

Between 2014-2020, the BEAR CONFLICT team of specialists physically participated in over 100 actions of conflict situations between human and bear.

BEAR CONFLICT team provided assistance and advice (by phone or other means of communication) in many cases of conflict between bear and human: removal of bear from the locality or other anthropic areas, release of bear from the noose, implementation of protection measures and prevention of damage, preparation of file for damages, road or rail accidents and other particular cases. The assistance / counseling activities were not centralized, but the experience of the members of this team was widely shared with various entities that requested support (hunting fund managers, state or private forestry administration, forest guards, environmental guards, town halls, etc)

BEAR NETWORK: 5 regional teams were trained on the specific management of emergency situations to intervene in conflict situations between human and bear (Brașov, Harghita, Prahova, Argeș, Vâlcea counties).

The information gathered during this activity was a real help in formulating the recommendations and indications provided by the project team members to some people and / or institutions in order to manage conflict situations between human and bear.

In view of the experience gained in conflict management, proposals have been made to amend the legislation regarding the compensation for damages resulting from a human-bear conflict.

The Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests (partner in LIFE FOR BEAR project) and INCDS Marin Drăcea (project coordinator) participated from a technical point of view in the elaboration of the Emergency Ordinance on the approval of immediate intervention methods for preventing and combating attacks by brown bears on persons and their property, within the built-up areas of the localities, as well as for the modification and completion of some normative acts. (O.U. 81/2021)

This ordinance regulates the intervention method, the entities / institutions that are part of the intervention team and the settlement of the intervention.

Also, the experience and results so far from this activity have brought a considerable contribution in writing the project proposal for the Implementation of the Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population.

The team continues to share its experience in managing human-bear conflict situations.

 

 C.3 Capture, relocation and monitoring of problem bears throughout the project area

Action completed in 2021.

Results:

  • A fast communication system, active (24 / 24h – at the ICAS BRAŞOV headquarters – 0268 419 936), between the intervention team and the local authorities involved or the managers of the hunting funds within which the event occurs (human-bear conflicts).
  • Technical guidance for capturing, relocating and monitoring problem bears.

Within this action, BEAR TEAM (intervention team for capturing, relocating and monitoring bears) was formed and the equipment necessary to carry out the actions was purchased.

This team has gained experience on all aspects related to this type of intervention, since 2014:

  • 20 bears relocated by BEAR TEAM were monitored with GPS / GSM monitoring systems, for research purposes (efficiency of relocation actions).
  • Database that will include all areas with problem bears (GIS maps).

Partial results show that relocating bear specimens with deviant feeding behavior (habituated bears) is not a viable long-term solution for both the individual and the bear population, except in exceptional cases when a bear specimen has been relocated before becoming accustomed to the unusual bear behavior (before repeatedly attending anthropic places and getting used to the presence of human).

  • In addition to the 20 actions, which resulted in the 20 monitored bears (with collar monitor system), BEAR TEAM also participated in actions:
  • capturing orphan cubs, in order to relocate to the rehabilitation center;
  • relocating bears on the same hunting ground, without mounting the collar;
  • releasing bears from the noose and relocating them back to their habitat;

Equipment used for successful actions:

  • optical monitoring equipment: cameras with motion sensors, thermovision camera / binoculars, cameras / video, projectors, etc.,
  • cage-type mobile capture trap,
  • special transport cage / box,
  • 4×4 car for transport,
  • transport stretcher;
  • chemical immobilization equipment,
  • veterinary first aid kit for the animal,
  • GPS monitoring equipment installed on the animal,
  • kit for collecting biological samples and biometric data.

Stages of the relocation process:

  • Bear monitoring
  • Preparation and planning
  • Specific bureaucracy
  • Capture
  • Chemical immobilization
  • Collection of biological samples
  • Biometric measurements
  • Installation of GPS / GSM monitoring system
  • Moved to the transport cage
  • Transport
  • Release
  • Monitoring

Movie Stages of the relocation action – synthesis

 

C.4 Improving the trophic supply favorable to natural bear feeding in the vicinity of conflict areas

Action completed in 2021.

The action aimed at improving and diversifying the trophic offer favorable to the natural feeding of the bear by multiplying anthills, setting up crop areas for wildlife and promoting the plant species preferred by the bear to be included in the forestry plan.

A technical guide for the application of solutions to improve the trophic supply favorable to the natural feeding of the bear was made.

By 2020, over 250 anthills have been moved and multiplied in the bear habitat in the areas: Râșnov, Valea Lungă, Glăjărie, Pârâul Rece, Predeal, Timișul de Sus, Timișul Sec, Brădet_Predeal, Săcele, Susai, Doftana, Tamina, Babarunca, Diham, Valea Azugii, Busteni, Zamora Busteni and Maneciu.

During the spring of 2015, 2016 and 2017, wildlife forestry crops were established in several areas of ​​Natura 2000 sites, Postavaru and Piatra Mare, in areas where anthropogenic pressure has increased and the possibility of restoring balance is more difficult or practical irreversible. The wildlife forestry crops were made with a total number of 13160 fruit seedlings and 6000 fruit cuttings, species used by the bear for feeding and occupy an area of ​​approx. 26.1 ha. In the summer of 2020, the average success rate was about 85% for forestry crops used to improve the food supply.

 

C.5 Elaboration of a set of measures with applicability in forest management that should provide for special measures for the management of bear-friendly stands in critical areas

Action completed in 2021.

Work in progress:

Set of forestry measures for the conservation of the brown bear (draft)

Based on the Technical Study on the improvement of the trophic potential of the lands destined for wildlife food and based on the expertise of the project team, and the results of action C4, based on the proposals for the implementation of technical norms regarding the improvement and diversification of the trophic offer favorable to the natural feeding of the bear, the project team included this activity to improve the trophic potential of land intended for food for wildlife to be integrated in the project Implementation of the Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population, which runs from 08.07.2021 to 31.12.2023.

 

C.6 Transfer of good practices of demonstration systems for the protection of sheepfolds, orchards, agricultural crops and bee farms, in order to reduce human-bear conflicts

Action completed in 2021.

A best practice guide for improving protection systems for sheepfolds, crops, orchards and bee farms

During this activity, the situation of the sheepfolds in the project implementation area was made and they were monitored.

By the summer of 2021, a number of 20 electric fences were distributed by the project team, monitoring their usefulness. The objectives thus protected and monitored are of the type: sheepfolds, orchards, bee farms, agricultural / forestry crops, private camps, boarding houses, housing. The beneficiaries of these protection systems have received instructions for use. Where electric fences have been used properly they have proved their usefulness. In some cases, when the bear’s visit problem was solved, the fences were moved to other beneficiaries.

 

C.7 Development of a project database in GIS system, attached to the revised management plan of the brown bear population in Romania

Action completed in 2021.

The objective of this action is the elaboration of a database in Geographic Information System (GIS), with the help of which the information with geospatial development of the other actions in the project will be analyzed, including the geographical and alphanumeric database with possibilities of query, thematic representation and exchange data in universally accepted formats.

The database accumulated during this activity crowns all the work of the project implementation team.

Maps have been generated and are being generated in which a lot of information is synthesized.

 

C.8 Improving household waste management in conflict areas in the area of Brasov – Prahova Valley

Action completed in 2021.

The areas where household waste is deposited and the platforms for waste collection in urbanized areas, near the forest and tourist areas (camping areas, chalets, boarding houses, hotels, etc.) in the project implementation area were identified. These areas were monitored to identify the most frequented locations visited by the bear.

In order to communicate and collaborate on improving the management of household waste in the area of ​​Brașov – Prahova Valley, 2 meetings took place (December 2015 and November 2019) with local authorities and sanitation companies. Collaboration continued locally with each stakeholder.

Based on the information gained in the exchange of experience with the members of the LIFE DINALP BEAR project team from Slovenia (in 2019), the technical project for the execution of bear-proof systems for Eurocontainers was made.

Thanks to the Slovenian team!

https://dinalpbear.eu/activities/c-concrete-conservation-actions/c1-organic-waste/

The creation of the prototype was aimed at: securing in terms of bear access, functionality, strength, appearance and compatibility with the current way of waste collection.

Following the monitoring of bear activity, consultations with stakeholders and the support of local authorities, the systems were installed in the localities: Râșnov, Timișul de Jos, Predeal, Azuga, Busteni, Moroeni, Cheia (residential areas and tourist areas at the edge of the forest).

These systems are demonstrative and innovative and have been specially designed to block bears’ access to waste.

The observations made and the information from the field show that where the bear-proof systems were used correctly, the bears no longer had access to garbage.

Watch the video here.

 

Monitoring the impact of the project action:

D.1 Monitoring the impact of the project actions on the conservation status of the bear population

Action completed in 2021.

The eight concrete actions proposed in the project have the main objective of maintaining / improving the conservation status of the brown bear population in the project area.

In order to have a more complete picture of the impact produced by them, an independent activity was provided to quantify the effect produced by the implementation of the project on the conservation status of the brown bear.

During this activity, the parameters that determine the conservation status of the brown bear population were monitored.

The first results show that the favorable conservation status for the brown bear species is maintained.

 

D.2 Monitoring the socio-economic impact of the project actions

Action completed in 2021.

The concrete actions in the project have as main objective the maintenance / improvement of the conservation status of the brown bear population in the project area, but they also have a socio-economic impact that is monitored within this activity.

This monitoring follows some parameters that target human-bear conflict situations.

The impact monitoring sheet follows the concrete actions carried out within the type C activities, but also some of the type E activities, determining the influence they have on the beneficiaries of the action and their attitude and involvement.

 

 

D.3 Monitoring ex-ante

Activity completed in 2015.

Result: Assessment report of the initial conservation status of the brown bear in the project area, by establishing the starting indicators for type C actions.

Information, awareness and dissemination of results:

E.1 Promoting the project, objectives and results

Action completed in 2021.

In 2015, information and promotional materials were produced for the dissemination of information about the project.

Brochure – project LIFE FOR BEAR

Poster – project LIFE FOR BEAR

Available here

The promotion of the project, objectives and results targets several groups.

In 2021, the project is recognized nationally, primarily for the most important product: Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population in Romania, a plan that is implemented starting with August 2021 through the project Implementation of the National Action Plan for the conservation of the brown bear population from Romanian, coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests.

The ways of communicating with the target groups were different depending on the interests of each group on the issue of the bear species.

Target group I (composed of specialists working in the fields: hunting, forestry, biology, ecology, etc.): the communication was especially during the working meetings for the implementation of the action plan and at each event attended by members of the project team. The exchange of information was also done in individual meetings or by email. The topic of communications with this group focused mainly on applicable management measures to meet the needs of the bear species and the human population from an ecological, ethological, conservative, social and economic point of view.

Target group II (composed of staff of institutions whose activity interferes with the bear species: hunting fund managers, forestry administration, environmental protection agencies, town halls, community police, sanitation companies, etc.) the communication was during the meetings organized by the team project and other meetings organized by various institutions on conflict situations between humans and bears. Representatives from the mentioned institutions from various localities also participated in many field actions. The topic of communication with this group was addressed both to the methods of managing existing and potential conflicts between humans and bears, and to methods of conflict prevention. As connections have been established with representatives of the institutions mentioned, work continues as a team to find solutions to the problems of human-bear coexistence.

With the target group III (consisting of people who frequently have conflicts with the bear, respectively: farmers, shepherds, beekeepers, farmers, locals from vulnerable areas) the communication was made both in an organized meeting, but more by field agents on the occasion: patrols carried out in areas frequented by bears, data collection, installation of protection systems. During these meetings it was possible to discuss the nature of conflicts, the attitude generated, methods of prevention and examples of good practices for conflict reduction.

In addition to the information events organized especially for each group, the promotion of the project with its actions and results was carried out at each event or field action where the project team members met with stakeholders who are part of the target groups targeted by LIFE FOR BEAR activities.

In addition to the events held within the project, various opportunities were used to inform the target groups and the general public about the project, its activities, the bear and the issues associated with it.

 

E.2 Website and discussion forum

Action completed in 2021.

The website and the socialization page are updated by adding content during the project and maintenance is ensured for another 5 years from the end of the project.

 

E.3 Creation and installation of information panels

Action carried out practically in 2015.

12 information panels and 2000 flyers printed on recyclable paper were made.

The condition of the panels was monitored, and in 2020 some panels and structures were reconditioned.

The panels have an informative and warning role for both tourists and members of local communities and present in addition to project data (description, project logo, LIFE logo) and other useful information, contact details of project partners and website address.

See the pannel here

The flyers with the project data were distributed at the meetings and actions carried out within the various activities of the project.

See the flyer here

 

E.4 Awareness campaign to promote brown bear conservation and conflict reduction methods

Action practically completed in 2020, but the dissemination of information continues on every occasion.

Information panels on the existence of the bear, conservation actions and methods of conflict reduction  were made. These were customized for each Natura2000 site in the project implementation area.

The panels were placed in places where there is a potential risk of human-bear conflict and on the access roads to the entrance to Natura 2000 sites in the project implementation area.

See the pannels here

Other products:

  • Poster about the importance of the bear in Natura 2000 sites
  • Brochure: The importance of the bear
  • Guide (2016) – concrete information on good pastoral practices

Available here

  • Teaching support for ecological education about bears;

Available only in romanian

These information materials were distributed to people from local communities, people who have had or are likely to have conflicts with the bear (locals from vulnerable areas, farmers, beekeepers, farmers, shepherds) and also to staff of institutions whose activity interferes with the bear.

Information and awareness actions were carried out in several schools in the localities where the most problems related to the habituated bears were identified: Sinaia, Busteni, Azuga, Predeal, Brasov. During the actions, presentations were made in front of students and teachers and informative materials were handed out.

 

E.5 Awareness campaign to promote SCIs and socio-economic benefits

Action practically completed in summer 2021, but the dissemination of information continues on every occasion.

The information campaign targeted the general public in the project area, namely local communities and students, aiming to raise awareness of the importance of habitats, species and landscapes in Natura 2000 sites.

  • Brochure: Martinel in Natura2000 sites

Available here

During meetings, workshops, presentations in schools, student camps, mountain competitions and other information and awareness actions, carried out in other activities, hats, T-shirts and brochures “Martinel in Natura2000 sites” were distributed in within this activity and information about Natura 2000 was disseminated along with the topic of events.

 

E.6 Preparation of the final report for the general public (Layman’s report)

It didn’t start. A final report will be prepared at the end of the project, containing a brief description of the results achieved in the project.

Monitorizarea proiectului:

F.1 Project management

Action completed in 2021.

This activity aims to achieve an operational management of the project.

The project is implemented by 6 entities: 1 coordinating beneficiary and 5 associated beneficiaries. For the good development of the project, a good and permanent coordination and collaboration between the beneficiaries was ensured.

See the beneficiaries here

 

F.2 Exchange of experience with other LIFE projects

Action completed in 2019.

The LIFE FOR BEAR project team participated in:

  • 3 international conferences IBA (The International Association for Bear Research and Management):
    • International Conference on Bear Management and Research (IBA 2016, 24th Edition, Anchorage, Alaska)
    • International Conference on Bear Management and Research (IBA 2017, 25th Edition, Quito, Ecuador)
    • International Conference on Bear Management and Research (IBA 2018, 26th Edition, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

https://www.bearbiology.org/events/iba-conferences/

  • 2 exchanges of experience abroad:
    • Experience exchange with researchers from The Center for Large Landscape Conservation in Bozeman, Montana, SUA, 2016

https://largelandscapes.org/

  • exchange of experience with the LIFE DINALP BEAR project team, Slovenia, 2019

https://dinalpbear.eu/project/

  • 1 exchange of experience in the country with the members of the LIFE Connect Carpathians project team.

https://connectcarpathians.ro/

Participation of some members from the project team to International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) – “Conservation Beyond Boundaries: Connecting Biodiversity with Communities, Governments and Stakeholders”, Malaysia 2019

https://conbio.org/publications/scb-news-blog/2019-kuala-lumpur-declaration

 

F.3 External audit

The external financial audit report will be made at the end of the project.

 

F.4 ”AFTER-LIFE” CONSERVATION PLAN

The “after LIFE” conservation plan will be realized at the end of the project.

 

F.5 MONITORING PROJECT PROGRESS

Monitoring the progress of the project to verify compliance with the grant and the expected results was carried out periodically by the management team.