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The upland Carpathian mountain plateau Oas Gutai in Maramures, a region in North Romania, is characterized by a mosaic landscape of grassland and forest habitats, and a network of high altitude wetlands.

Maramures landscape, with traditional haystacks. © WWF
The region has maintained healthy populations of brown bear, wolf, and lynx. The thirteen small communities and the city of Baia Mare with a population of 150,000) profit from the ecosystem services of the area (see table below), in particular its recreational values: elements of authentic archaic life integrated in nature and consisting of UNESCO heritage wooden churches, massive carved wooden gates, mills and brandy distilleries powered by water, handicrafts made of natural materials, and agro-pastoral traditions expressed by extensive agriculture practices, healthy and tasty local food, and local festivals.

Map of Maramures PES project pilot site. rel= © WWF


Key Ecosystem Services of our 45,000 ha large pilot site in Maramures

Carbon capture

Accumulation of biomass in the main forestry species (Spruce, Beech) both underground and above-the-ground
Economic value on an annual basis 2,185,000 Euro

Above-the-ground accumulation of CO2 for pastures and meadows
Economic value on an annual basis 1,170,000 Euro

Carbon storage


Only forests where timber mass production is not allowed
Economic value on an annual basis 226,000 Euro

Traditional landscapes and leisure

Measured against the number of tourists who choose to spend their time in the study area
Economic value on an annual basis 140,000 Euro

The PES scheme

The Maramures Heritage Trail links seven villages, seven protected areas, and two NATURA 2000 sites on the 45,000 ha large pilot site. A Biodiversity Conservation Fund managed by a local association and set up under the Danube PES project will collect revenues from tourism generated by this Maramures Heritage Trail and invest them into biodiversity conservation measures in the area.