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Tara Lovistei, Valcea county.
Tara Lovistei, Valcea county.

Grazing access on the commons is a demanding and complex issue. A lot of competition exists among large sheep owners in the country of Lovistea in the Southern Carpathians. @2016 Arryn Snowball

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Cheese
Cheese

Produce of the alpine pasture commons from Boisoara, Valcea county, Wallachia region @Arryn Snowball 2016

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Looking for the member card
Looking for the member card

In some cases commoners do not remember how many shares they have in the commons. In a few places we have found members cards. But in many others, it is only the council and the commons registers which hold the knowledge. This picture is taken while a commoner from Titești, Vâlcea county, was looking through his wallet for his commons card to tell us the number of his shares. @Arryn Snowball 2016

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Tara Lovistei, Valcea county.
Tara Lovistei, Valcea county.

Grazing access on the commons is a demanding and complex issue. A lot of competition exists among large sheep owners in the country of Lovistea in the Southern Carpathians. @2016 Arryn Snowball

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Romanian Mountain Commons

Throughout the Carpathian Mountains there are large woodlands and grazing areas owned, governed and managed in collective ways by community-based institutions called obști and composesorate.

The commons were reconstituted starting with the Romanian restitution law 1/2000. From a legal point of view, they are considered land in private property of ‘juridical persons’.

Vrancea Mountains
Vrancea Mountains

In the eastern tip of the Carpathians, Vrancea region, almost all the woodlands are owned in commons regime.@George Iordachescu 2016

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Firewood share
Firewood share

Commoner and forester making papers for a an annual right of firewood from the commons, Vrancea Mountains, Nereju @Monica Vasile 2007

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Pasture commons in Fagaras Mountains
Pasture commons in Fagaras Mountains

Commons of village Titesti, on the southern side of the Fagaras Mountains, Tara Lovistei. @Arryn Snowball 2016

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Vrancea Mountains
Vrancea Mountains

In the eastern tip of the Carpathians, Vrancea region, almost all the woodlands are owned in commons regime.@George Iordachescu 2016

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Numerical Estimates*

>more than 1500 commons

>more than 400.000 rightholders / commoners

>woodland surface cca 870.000 ha

>14% of the forested area of Romania governed in commons regime

>24% of the privately owned woodlands

>grazeland surface estimated cca. 300.000 ha

*rough estimates from corroborating our results with partial official data

After logging forest commons
After logging forest commons

Most commons are forests of high commercial value, exploited by logging. Recent reports emphasize high rates of illegal cuts. This picture is taken on the road to Leu mountain, Fagaras massif, Valcea county, Wallachia. @Arryn Snowball 2016

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Transporting logs, Wallachia
Transporting logs, Wallachia

Hauling in the logs for commoners in Argeș County, Berevoești obște @George Iordachescu 2017

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Mortuary chapel in Suseni, Harghita
Mortuary chapel in Suseni, Harghita

Common property institutions invest profit made from common resources in community infrastructure, roads, sheepfolds, sewage, etc. In areas where membership in the commons are inheritance-based, most members are seniors. In composesorate of Harghita county, the elderly members favor the investment of profit made from logging on the commons in building cemetery chapels, which can cost as high as €40,000.@Stefan Voicu 2016

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After logging forest commons
After logging forest commons

Most commons are forests of high commercial value, exploited by logging. Recent reports emphasize high rates of illegal cuts. This picture is taken on the road to Leu mountain, Fagaras massif, Valcea county, Wallachia. @Arryn Snowball 2016

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What did our project do

  • survey database

  • interviews database

  • photographic archive

  • documents archive

We researched extensively contemporary Romanian land commons between 2015-2017. Our database includes 329 surveyed cases of commons. We collected data from 20% of the existing number of commons in Romania, accounting for nearly 1/2 of the forests owned as commons and nearly 1/3 of the surface of pasture owned.

Negrilești village, Vrancea county.
Negrilești village, Vrancea county.

All households in Vrancea county use wood provided by the commons' forests for building, heating and cooking. @Negrilești, 2016, George Iordachescu

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Forests, road Voineasa-Sugag
Forests, road Voineasa-Sugag

Regeneration in clear-cuts, coniferous forests @Stefan Voicu 2016

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Ore mine in Suseni, Harghita
Ore mine in Suseni, Harghita

Composesorat Suseni, Gyergyóújfalu Közbirtokossag, in Harghita county, rents part of its land to an ore mining company. @Ștefan Voicu 2016

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Negrilești village, Vrancea county.
Negrilești village, Vrancea county.

All households in Vrancea county use wood provided by the commons' forests for building, heating and cooking. @Negrilești, 2016, George Iordachescu

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Institutional Hosts

Solidarity Lab, Bucharest (from 2018)

Institute of Sociology, Romanian Academy, Bucharest (2015-2017)

 

IRITHESys, Humboldt University, Berlin (2015-2016)

 

Rachel Carson Center, LMU, Munich (2017-2019)

Financing (2015-2017): Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS-UEFISCDI

Project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-2865

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