Todirescu Flower Reservation

The crowning glory of the Rarau Massif is the glorious Todirescu Flower Reservation (Fanetele Montane de la Plaiul Todirescu; 1933), which sprawls for 44 hectares across Todirescu Mountain on the southern edge of the Slatioara Reservation. In July its meadows are ablaze with colour. Tulips, bluebells, daffodils, daisies, chrysanthemums and the poisonous omagul (aconitum anthora) are just some of the many floral delights found here.

Frank Carter and David Turnock's Environmental Problems in East-Central Europe (2002) is the place to turn for the specific ecological problems -and solutions - for this area.

Number of tons collected and disposed of during the first year of clean up at the Retezat National

DID YOU KNOW?

29% of the current energy production in Romania comes from hydropower stations; the second-most used source is qeothermai energy.

I NVIHONMI NIAI I % Sil IS

(he Romanian government's goal is that by 2010, one third of total energy production will come from renewable sources.

DID YOU KNOW?

10% of the current energy production in Moldova is from hydro-power stations, 90% from fossil fuels. Moldova imports 1.2 billion kWh of energy a year.

■ ii ti.. I , nil, ..I tlic liimlm'iipc, the majesty of the high peaks and ii .i ill mil tin dri p'.i irmly of the picture-perfect fields and valleys! I'mi .Mj'li. nihil .ni' all lliose plastic bottles doing there at the foot of lln mimmiiIiiImC

Ii i ,.nl .mil distressing scenario that repeats itself throughout Roma-III,i you'll he in the middle of nearly incomprehensible beauty when you •iiidilenly stumble upon a dozen crushed beer cans or spot a pile of garbage floating in a creek. For NGOs like Pro Natura (www.pronatura.ro) and the Transylvania Ecological Club (pl47; www.greenagenda.org), sensitising an apathetic public about how to diminish the impact of tourism on the environment are main priorities.

It's also a battle that has just begun. Under the Communist regime, the government tried aggressively to harness natural resources, regardless of the ecological costs. Posting signs saying 'Please remove your trash' would have been anachronistic when rivers were being diverted and ecosystems destroyed nearby (it should be noted that plastic bottles, a main culprit, did not exist in Communist times - people used recyclable glass bottles; in a way, Westernisation has been a step backwards!). Still today, even in protected areas, guidelines and enforcement are rare.

The government-sponsored Pro Natura started a conservation program in 1992 at the Retezat National Park and a year later on the Cerna Valley.

Despite their valiant efforts, much needs to be done. You can do your part by being respectful to nature even in places where you see lack of respect or by contacting or going on organised activities with the eco-groups and established tour guides mentioned throughout this book.

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