The pasture in Viscri is managed by the community, through a farmers’ association. In the months of September-December, 2022, together with students from the Faculty of Environmental Science and Engineering – Babeș-Bolyai University (FSIM-UBB), we carried out field visits to the Viscri wood-pasture. We were received by Mr. Dietmar Gross as well as Mr. Tabarcea Vasile Daniel, the president of the Farmers’ Association “AGRO-ECO Viscri-Weisskirch Association” and we also had the opportunity to talk with the association’s cattle herder Mr. Vasilache Tiberiu-Vilmos. The discussions and activities can be summarized as follows: (i) Our hosts explained to us how the welfare of domestic animals depends on the ecological integrity of the pasture. We learned that overgrazing is not a mandatory way for managing a pasture and that pasture is an element of heritage that can and must be used sustainably. Economic and cultural and ecological values can be reconciled. (ii) The farmers’ association wants to adopt a system of grazing and pasture management that is friendly to nature and the heritage value of the pasture. For this, the following activities are needed: bringing back the trees scattered on the parts of the pasture where the trees were removed in the past decades, the shrubs must be reconsidered for their facilitating role for the establishment of trees but also for their role for biodiversity, the development of a partnership with FSIM- UBB for engaging students in understanding and managing rangeland. (iii) We marked the shrub elements that must be maintained and tested the activity of “liberating” the established oaks by “trimming” the crown of the thorny shrubs that facilitated the establishment of the trees. This activity is necessary because, on the one hand, thorny shrubs facilitate the establishment of trees on the pasture, but on the other hand, they can shade the trees and therefore inhibit their development.
We have set directions for the activities in 2023, which will consist of workshops on tree replanting and shrub management, activities in which students will also be involved. The attached pictures show moments from these meetings and the activities carried out.
A drone movie about the wood-pasture realized by our team can be seen here: