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  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

Pollard counts of butterfly communities in different habitats (species-rich grasslands, species-poor grassland, abandoned land, scrub areas and farmland) have been completed at a series of sites around eight villages across the Tarnarva Mare region between 2013 and 2019. These surveys are revealing interesting patterns in butterfly habitat associations and changes in the communities over time. The same sites surveyed since 2013 will be resurveyed in 2020 and these data can be used to identify habitat associations and changes between years within the butterfly communities. One useful output from these studies might be the identification of butterfly species which could be used as indicators of high nature conservation grassland.

Extended Dissertation Summary

If you would like to do a dissertation or thesis with us but your university hasn’t started dissertation planning or the project selection process, that’s no problem. You can cancel your expedition with zero cancellation charges up until the 15th of April of if you provide documentation from your university saying that they won’t support completing a dissertation project with us.

Transylvania Research Objectives

The foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania are one of the most spectacular and biodiverse areas in Europe. The species-rich landscape has been nurtured by the low intensity farming practices stretching back up to 900 years. However, since Romania joined the European Union there was a gradual depopulation of the countryside coupled with moves to increase the efficiency of farming by combining fields and more intensive agricultural practices. To mitigate against these areas of outstanding natural beauty in the foothills of the Carpathians being affected by intensification, the EU offered farmers grants to continue farming using traditional techniques to maintain the landscape. The Opwall teams in Transylvania are working with a local NGO called ADEPT and a series of scientists monitoring whether farming practices and biodiversity are changing in a series of eight valleys within the Tarnava Mare region. Changes in farming practices such as any moves to silage production, removal of hedges, usage of fertilisers and pesticides or drainage of wetland areas are being monitored since they could have a big impact on the biodiversity. Direct monitoring of the biodiversity of groups such as meadow plant indicator species, butterflies, birds, small mammals and large mammals such as bears are also being monitored as part of this programme.

  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights in to and out of Cluj.
  • Cost of internal travel – which includes transport to and from the start and end points of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. This costs around £180 or $233 on average. Extra nights’ accommodation in Sighisoara costs around £30 or $44.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified.

The Transylvania expedition is a mobile one, spending only a week each in eight different villages scattered through the Tarnarva Mare.

Each village is unique in its own way, and facilities do vary from one to another. For the majority the conditions are relatively basic with tented accommodation and long drop toilets, as you are staying in the gardens and on the properties of local farmers rather than actual campsites. For others however the expedition is in guesthouses or more prepared accommodation and campsites. As the village order is only finalized a couple of months prior to the expedition, we can only give an indication of where you may be going during the training presentation in March/April.

The weather is generally good, averaging the mid-twenties for the majority of the summer – although it can get very hot occasionally. As the expedition is Europe, rain is also a possibility!

Locations

  • Transylvania
  • Romania

Want to get involved with this project?

Preparation

Want to get involved with this project?

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com