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21/06/2016

The Beech Festival: A New Moldovan Tradition

Opening of the Beech Festival
Woodcarvings produced by local artisans. Photo by Andrey Galeliuc
Beadworks produced by local artisans
The exhibition of children's drawings
Celebrations in the open-air theater. Photo by Alexandra Levitkaia
A tree of European or Common beech (Fagus sylvatica), a protected species in Moldova. Photo by Aurel Lozan

FLEG II team supported the organization of the Beech Festival and was awarded for its collaboration

Children, rural inhabitants, folk music fans, artisans, and nature lovers: a vast and eclectic crowd   animated the 2016 edition of the Beech Festival, held June 1st through 5th in the Beech Land Nature Reserve in Ungheni District, Moldova. The event was organised under the auspices of the Ungheni District administration and the surrounding communities, with the support of Agency Moldsilva and the ENPI East Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Program (FLEG II).

Spearheaded by the Ungheni District Council, the festival took place for the first time in 2013 and, since then, it has become a much awaited event which attracts more visitors every year.

“The aim of this initiative is to raise public awareness not only on the importance of local forests, symbolized by the European beech tree, in peoples’ lives but also on the richness of the Reserve’s biodiversity” said Aurel Lozan, FLEG II Country Program Coordinator for IUCN in Moldova, “In addition, the festival is an excellent opportunity for locals to gather, promote their traditions, sell their products made with forest resources, and to discuss how to manage and protect their natural heritage”.

This 2016 edition offered a very diverse program: folk music performances in the open-air theatre; homemade dishes prepared with an array of forest products including herbs, berries and mushrooms; and many types of traditional handicrafts such as woodcarvings and embroidered pictures. Children also exhibited drawings they created from their lively imaginations on a topic entitled: "A Forest through the Eyes of a Child ".

The Moldovan FLEG II team, together with the local media and communications partner Antis-Media, have collaborated with the Ungheni District Council, the Nature Reserve administration and Agency Moldsilva to launch the 4th edition of a festival that takes place in the forest, where 300 people gathered to honor the inherent symbolism and majesty of the sinewy and stately Beech Tree.

“We were pleased to work with the hosts of this important event and bring our contribution” said Mr. Lozan, “The Ungheni District Council kindly decided to award the FLEG II team, as a token of their gratitude, for the support provided for this occasion and for the daily activities carried out to cooperate with local communities in the promotion of their cultural and natural heritage”.

The Beech Land Nature Reserve harbours approximately 680 species of vascular pants, 200 species of vertebrates and numerous species of invertebrates – including 27 species of plants and animals in the National Red Book data. The area is a living laboratory and a bastion of biodiversity.

The Reserve is named after the European or Common beech (Fagus sylvatica), which is native to Moldova and reaches its eastern range limit here. Although the beech represents only 6% of the tree composition in the reserve area, it is an indispensable component of local forest ecosystems.



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