Ambassador profile


  Name: Sebastian Catanoiu
  Function: Park Manager
  Country: Romania
  E-mail: catanoius(at)yahoo(dot)com
  Tel: +40 72630 3240

Organisation profile


  Organisation: Vanatori Neamt Nature Park
  E-mail: vanatoripark(at)vanatoripark(dot)ro
  Tel: +40 23325 1060
  Established: 1999
  Category: Natural Park
  Number of staff: 17
Site profile
  Site name:
Vanatori Neamt Nature Park
("Parcul Natural Vanatori Neamt")
Local name: Bison Land
( “Tinutul Zimbrului” )
  Location: NE of Romania, Carphatian Mountains, Neamt county  
  Land area: 30,818 ha  
  Nearest urban settlement: Tirgu Neamt town, 4 communities  
  Natura 2000 ID: All the park area is proposed as a Natura 2000 site in provisional list for Romania.  
  Annual visitor count:
40,000 in case of Bison Reserve (a count is taken from the tickets issued);
100,000s of visitors visit the entire park, but it is not possible to have an accurate count. Estimates are based on daily counts carried out at some tourist attraction points ( there are 40 monasteries, convents, hermitages, churches inside and in the vicinity of the park).
  Majority of visitors from: From all over Romania, 10% from abroad  
  Site description:

The Vanatori Neamt Nature Park is a natural park. The main goal is the protection and conservation of landscapes where interaction between human activities and nature has taken place for many years. This interaction has created a specific area with significant landscape, cultural and biodiversity value. Other reserves can be found in the park area: Oak Reserve (56,6 ha) – cat.I - IUCN, Silver Forest (2 ha) – cat. IV –IUCN, Brass Wood (10,2 ha) – cat.IV – IUCN.


All species
  Species code Latin name Common / local name
    Alcedo athis  
    Aquila pomarina  
    Caprimulgus europaeus  
    Ciconia ciconia  
    Ciconia nigra  
    Crex crex  
    Dendrocopos medius  
    Dryocopus martius  
    Ficedula albicollis  
    Ficedula parva  
    Jynx torquilla  
    Lanius collurio  
    Lullula arborea  
    Pernis apivorus  
    Picus canus  
    Bison bonasus  
    Lynx lynx  
    Lutra lutra  
    Ursus arctos  
    Canis lupus  
    Myotis bechsteinii  
    Cerambyx cerdo  
    Carabus variolosus  
    Morimus funereus  
    Rosalia alpina  
    Lucanus cervus  
All habitats (* indicates priority habitats)
  Habitat code Common / local name
  6230* Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)
  6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)
  6520 Mountain hay meadows
  9130 Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests
  91V0 Dacian Beech forests (Symphyto-Fagion)
Stakeholder profile        
  Stakeholder activity in the management planning process:
  Stakeholder group activity level
  hi ←        → nil
  Central Government        
  Private landowners        
  Green NGOs        
  Private sector        
  Private individuals        
  Port authorities        
  Recreational groups        
  Other: Schools        
Stakeholder success stories

Small grant projects for local communities

Different small grant projects are organised to involve local communities:

  • Meadows rehabilitation
  • Ecological clubs in schools
  • Information points
  • Provisional garbage collection facilities
  • Ecological camp
  • Promoting local products like handcrafts
  • Promoting ecotourism in park area



Bison reintroduction programme

The Bison, apart from its natural function as a keystone species, can serve as an excellent flagship species for the promotion of nature conservation and the creation of public awareness. Its very presence would also provide economic benefits through an increased attractiveness of the region for eco-tourists, naturalists, etc.
A component of the Bison reintroduction programme aims to increase public awareness and the ecological education of children. This was achieved by involving local communities in several actions such as:

  • Printing leaflets and an educational manual
  • Lessons for school children
  • Green Days
  • Workshops
  • Press releases etc...

An example was the International conference ‘European Bison and local communities in Carpathians Mountains’( August 2006) with participation of experts from Carphatian countries, local authorities, local communities, NGOs, schools, etc. The main topic of the meeting was to analyse together with local communities and stakeholders the opportunities and threats for Bison in the Carphatian Mountains.



Certification of forest management

The forest management certification process started in 2001 and in 2002 the certificate was awarded for the two forest districts inside the Park. The private harvest companies agreed this process even though it experienced some financial constraints at the beginning (funds to be invested in personal protection equipments, new machines etc). As proof that the private companies understand the benefits of forest management certification (environmental and economic), not only harvesting companies but also wood processing companies agreed to be certified (based on chain of custody). Nowadays, due to this process, which started at Vanatori Neamt Nature Park, FSC certified companies can be found throughout Romania.


Photo credit: Sebastian Catanoiu, Elena Curea, Razvan Deju, and Gabriel Hanganu.
Communication profile

Activities and products for the communication of Natura 2000


Green Days more info
Guided visits
Other: Lessons for schoolchildren from our area.


  Event frequency
At least once per month


  Use of seasonal workers / volunteers


  Kind of work / volunteering opportunities
  • Scientific volunteers
  • Biodiversity monitoring and inventory
  • Cleaning areas with uncontrolled waste deposits


  Communication literature produced
Magazines / periodicals


  Communication target groups
General public
Local community
Site visitors
Other: Scholars


  The organisation has a dedicated communication strategy for Natura 2000


  Description of communication strategy
The communication strategy, which began last year, includes the following:
  • Media releases
  • Meetings regarding nature protection
  • An international meeting “European bison and local communities in Carphatian mountains”
  • Leaflet about European bison as a priority species
  • Leaflet about Natura 2000
  • Education manual for school children “Bison Land- manual for optional disciplines”, a new issue of “Vanatori Neamt Nature Park-Junior” magazine


  Site involved in joint working / networking


  Details of joint working / networking activity
  • Parco del Monte Subasio Regional Protected Natural Area , Italy – sacred natural site concept, 1 meeting in Romania, a common leaflet
  • Vyzhnytskyi National Park, Ukraine – 2005, Bison reintroduction in Carphatian (Romania and Ukraine), 4 meetings (2 in Romania, 2 in Ukraine)
  • Rezervatia Padurea Domneasca, Moldova Republic – 2005, Bison reintroduction in Romania and Moldova, common magazine, 4 meetings in Romania
  • Large Herbivore Foundation, The Netherlands – 2004, 2 international conferences in Romania, 1 meeting in Slovakia, 1 meeting in Poland, Bison reintroduction in Europe
  • Delos Initiative, (IUCN/WCPA, Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas) – first workshop of Delos Initiative in Spain, sacred natural site
  • European Bison Friends Society, Poland, 1 meeting in Poland, 1 meeting in Romania, Bison reintroduction program
  • The EUROPARC Federation, VNNP is a member since 2005
  • Eurosite, VNNP is a member since 2005


Site management profile
"Bison Land – sacred natural site"
  Key site management issues:


  • Biodiversity conservation
  • European Bison reintroduction
  • Public awareness
  • Implementation of Natura 2000
  • Sacred natural site


  Integration of Natura 2000 in overall site management:



A new law for protected areas appeared in June 2007. According to this law, Natura 2000 will be included in the management plan of protected areas.


  Key site management objectives:


  • Maintain biodiversity
  • Develop and implement strategy for free living Bison
  • Certification of the forest management
  • Sacred natural site
  • Attract tourists and promote local values
  • Support communities in keeping local traditions and values
  • Promote and support Park friendly activities
  • Involve public and local communities in conservation of Park values through education and public awareness activities
  • International cooperation
  • Build Park administration capacity, establish mechanisms for ongoing activity, promote close cooperation with all stakeholders

The overall goal is to provide sustainable development of the entire microregion represented by the Park area using the nature protection and the sacred places as communication tools. The presence of the Bison, its iminent reintroduction and the presence of many monasteries, convents etc are the key elements to interest and involve the communities, local authorities and green NGOs, in the preservation and the sustainable usage of biodiversity and to increase public awareness.


  Stakeholders targeted as part of management action:


  • Local councils
  • Green NGOs
  • Schools
  • Monasteries
  • Forest districts


  Description of work carried out / methods and methodology:


The Park was established in 1999. Since then it is difficult to describe all the works and methods applied. For this reason we focus on the results of this methodology (see next sections - results of action and activities).


  Results of action and activities:


  • For the first time in Romania, the forest management certification was achieved for the entire Park. Due to this success, National Forest Administration certified 1 million ha all around Romania. Harvest and timber companies were also certificated (chain of custody)
  • Preliminary phases for Bison reintroduction were finalized (first tranquilization, first genetic tests, first vet treatment system, first Bison imports after 1987, first quarantine farm, first acclimatisation enclosure etc)
  • A biodiversity inventory for the Park area was realized and based on this the whole area is proposed as a Natura 2000 site
  • The level of public awareness is high, especially for school children. Weekly, children from local schools receive information about local natural heritage at our new Visitor Center
  • Based on small grants provided by Park administration 10 local green NGOs were established. These represent the first opportunities for local communities to address funds. Some of these succeeded to obtain funds for different programmes and nowadays are very active
  • “Bison Land” coalition was established (local NGOs, Local Councils, Schools etc agreed to have a common political goal regarding sustainable development of our area with respect to environment)
  • A functional, efficient, pilot system regarding the management of garbage was established (significantly reducing in this way the effects of the anthropic activities upon some areas included in the ecological region "forest”).
  • By finding a balance between the preservation actions and public awareness, we succeeded to supply suplementary incomes, as well as the social integration for 2 gipsy communities and the institutionalised chidren within the "Bison Land.”



  Indication of budget allocation for these tasks:


  • 1999- 2006, GEF project $ 2,8 million (approx. Euro 2,030,000)
  • 2006- partner in some several small projects implemented by local NGOs as GEF-SGP, Matra KAP,KNIP etc
  • NFA support our expenses, but according to the new Law 57/june 2007 the financial involvement of the Ministry of Environment (through the new established National Agency for Protected Areas) is expected.


Financial overview
  Organisational budget for nature conservation (annual):


Our yearly budget assured only by National Forest Administration is $ 147,000 (approx. Euro 107,000) but this amount only covers the minimum necessities (salaries, fuel and cars reimbursements, stationary etc.).

For specific nature conservation actions, extra money is necessary (also NFA provide such funds).


  Budget reserved for communication:


There is no special chapter for communication in our budget. (for this, we use money from “Public awareness and education” chapter that represents $ 4,000 yearly (approx. Euro 2,900)).


  European funding:




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Vanatori Neamt Nature Park: RO