WWF is investigate the feasibility of establishing so-called Payments for Environmental Services (PES) in Maramures related to provision of clean water. One mechanism could involve payments by the City of Baia Mare to local farmers on the Oasi plateau to keep them from using pesticides and fertilisers and thus minimise the need to treat the city's water -- a potential win-win-win solution in which residents of Baia Mare limit the need for costly water treatment, farmers get payments that help them maintain their way of life, and the rich landscape and its biodiversity is preserved.
Sustainable Forest management
The main threat to the forests comes from logging, and WWF is tackling this problem on two fronts. It is encouraging local businesses (including a nearby IKEA factory) and authorities to buy only wood which has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC certification requires the owners of the forests to manage their land sustainably. At the same time, new, more sustainable income-generating initiatives are being set up, based mostly on the sustainable harvesting of forest products, tourism and the production of handicrafts.
Part of the rich biodiversity of Maramures owes its existence to the lush meadows which are interspersed with the forests. Currently, many of these meadows are used for hay production. The farmers transport the hay off the mountain by road, and these roads act as drainage channels, contributing to flooding. Extensive grazing will maintain biodiversity and reduce water run-off as cattle do not need to be moved along the roads. The beef resulting from the project will be marketed as local, ‘green’ beef.