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Making the “European Yellowstone”—Unintended Consequences or Unrealistic Intentions?



The Romanian Carpathian Mountains have always been praised for their natural habitats, rich wildlife, and large tracts of old-growth forests. Their landscape has been shaped not only by recent postsocialist transformations but also by centuries of uninterrupted, traditional land-use practices. Still, over the last decade the Southern Carpathians have been turned into a frontier of rewilding and global capital investments in ecotourism facilities. One of the boldest conservationist plans proposed the establishment of a world-class private nature reserve aiming to keep the habitat forever wild while lobbying for strict protective measures. Their strong enforcement has clashed with local livelihoods, historical community associations, and people dependent on the forest.