Afforestation of degraded lands [Romania]

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Reporting Entity: Romania

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights: No

Completeness: 94%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Afforestation of degraded lands



Reporting Entity:


Property Rights

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:



Prevailing land use in the specified location

  • Grazing land
  • Uproductive land

Contribution to Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) measures

  • Rehabilitation

Contribution to the strategic objectives

  • To improve the conditions of affected ecosystems
  • To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the Convention

Linkages with the other best practice themes

  • Funding and resource mobilization
  • Participation, collaboration and networking


Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)

Short description of the best practice

Identification and approval of degraded lands that are subject to afforestation is made by a local committee, involving all relevant stakeholders. Financing of expenditures for feasability studies/technical projects and afforestation works is made from the National Fund for Land Reclamation and/or from specially earmarked budgetary allocations. The local forestry agencies (inspectorates) are in charge with the procedure of procurement of public works and the verification of financing claims. The plantations are established in accordance with the applicable forestry norms (i.e., Norms for afforestation of degraded lands, Ministry of Waters, Forest and Environmental Protection, 2000), following, as far as practicable, the natural type of forest. After the acknowledgment of plantation success (i.e., 5 years from establishment), afforested areas are assigned forest land use category, and are suubject to forest management plans and the forestry regime.
This is the programme on which basis, in the years 2005-2006, more than 5,000 ha of degraded lands were afforested yearly. The price of afforestation (including plantation maintenance) is up to 5,000 euro/ha.
The ammount of funding and the corresponding afforested areas decreased seriously in 2008-2009 (ca. 2.500 ha in 2008, 1,000 ha in 2009), in line with the economic recession. However, this is expected to increase significantly from 2010 on, due to the launching of two new afforestation programmes: Measure 221 NPRD 2007-2013 and the afforestation measure financed from the Environment Special Fund.
The afforested areas also count for the Afforestation/Reforestation (AR) activities reported under KP-LULUCF. |


Romania, "perimeters for land reclamation"|

If the location has well defined boundaries, specify its extension in hectares:


Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.

Even though the altitude is usually low (plains or foothills), the slope is usually high, favouring soil erosion generated by unsustainable use practices (e.g., overgrazing, unsuitable ploughing). Most often, degraded lands assigned for afforestation are former forests, which suffered, during the last centuries, chqnge in land use category from forest to agriculture. |
Areas affected by afforestation works on degraded lands are characterised by warm-temperate climate, low-elevated, with significvant water deficit in the summer (arid) |
The layer of fertile soil is usually shallow. Soils have high-clay activities, are often destructured, compacted, and sustain a low vegetal production. Sometimes there is no vegetation on these degraded lands, even under favourable rainfall.|

Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby

Degraded lands eligible for financing through the national programme of afforestation (financed from the Budget and/or Land Reclamation Fund) are public lands belonging to central government (undertaken by the National Forest Administration) or communes/municipalities.
Afforestation of private degraded lands are supported, from 2010 on, by funding from two other programmes: 1. Measure 221 NRDP 2007-2013; 2. Afforestation measure supported by the National Environmental Fund.|
Rural communities in Romania are usually highly dependent on the agricultural production (crops and livestock). Rural communities whose lands are significanlty degraded degradation (e.g., erosion, salinization, etc.) are definitely in a less favourable position than communities succceeding to keep land productivity at high level.  |
Local public administration
Small enterprises, handicrafts, etc.|

On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?

- characteristics of SLM technology and investment on the ground, directly related to DLDD mitigation;
- volume of works achieved during the last years;
- funding mobilized;
- expected results, of which some are already visible. |

Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice

Main problems addressed by the best practice

- Rehabilitation of degraded lands, i.e., regaining the productivity of lands currently unsuitable for any use;
- Improvement of local environmental conditions, including the protection of water resource, agricultural crops, support for nutrient cycle, soil generation, etc.;
- C sequestration in wood and other forest pools (soil, litter, underground biomass), accounted under the Kyoto Protocol;
- On long-run, additional source of wood and income for the local population.|

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

- regaining fertility by lands currently unuitable for other uses;
- improvement of soil structure and parameters (pH, humus content, clay activity, compactness, etc.);
- increase of vegetal production and local communities' income;
- response to the decreasing livestock in rural communities and consequent decrease of demand for fodder and grazzing land (i.e., land use adaptation).  |

Specify the objectives of the best practice

Afforestation of degraded lands, unsuitable for other uses, and their integration into the national forest area, through public support for territorial-administrative units (communes) and the National Forest Administration. |

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

- inclusion of land into "reclamation perimeter";
- financing request to the ministry;
- verification of claim;
- submission of tehnical documents;
- aproval;
- execution of works;
- reimbursement;
- control and financing of maintenance work;
- inclusion of the plantation in the national forest area

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

Plantations are made in spring or in autumn, following an appropriate preparation of the soil (usually on the plantation spot). Extensive ploughing and the use of lime ammendments and fertilizers are the exceptions, not the rule (C leakage/emissions from the AR project is therefore unlikely). Seedlings used are usually 2-3 years old, belong to the natural forest type, have a density of at least 5,000/ha and follow closely the plantation scheme/formula provisioned by the forestry norms. These plantation usually occurs on degraded grazzing lands. Maintenance works (i.e., weeds removal) is made 1-2 times a year, until the plantation reaches the closed forest stage (5-7 years). The land reclamation perimeter is protected against game, livestock and other biotic/abiotic factors by fence and other means (i.e., repelant substances, guard). The greatest natural hazard, particularly during the first years, is the drought in summer. |
"Technical norms for afforestation of degraded lands", Ministry of Environment and Forests, 2000. |

Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

- Ministry of Environment and Forests
- National Forest Administration
- Institute of Forest Research and Management Planning|www.mmediu.ro

Was the technology developed in partnership?


Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • National initiative – government-led

Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?


List local stakeholders involved:

Afforestation are popular initiatives of the public at large, promoted at most during the "Forest Month" 15 March-15 April. The territorial branches of the Forestry Department and the National Forest Administration have key role in the promotion of afforestation programme .|

For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.

- awareness on the role of forests and forest ecosystems;
- promotion of afforestation works during the "Forest Month";
- technical support for the implementation of afforestation projects.

Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?



Section 5. Contribution to impact

Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)

Soil generation
Assisgnment of a given use category to a waste land
Increased vegetal production
Increased soil fertility, on long run|
Wood production, on long run|
Carbon sequestration
Landscape improvement
Water protection

Describe the major two off-site (i.e. not occurring in the location but in the surrounding areas) impacts

Shared benefits for the local communities: wood and non-wood forest products, working places, landscape, etc. |
Protection of downstream environment components (water sources, agricultural crops, etc.)|

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

- Established plantation follow, on the rule, the natural type of forest existing originally on that piece of land. |
Carbon sequestration in all carbbon pools:
- above ground bbiomass;
- below ground biomass;
- dead organic matter;
- litter;
- soil.
This capacity of C sequestration of lands affected by afforestation activities has been reflected in the recently submitted KP-LULUCF reporting.
Biodiversity is better preserved (and in particular conditions enhanced) in forest, compared to wastelands (degraded lands with low vegetal production and biological activity)|

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?



Cost-benefit analysis is intrinsic part of the feasability studies, required by the national regulations on public procurement. |

Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?




Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?

Were incentives to facilitate the take up of the technology provided?


Specify which type of incentives:
  • Policy or regulatory incentives (for example, related to market requirements and regulations, import/export, foreign investment, research & development support, etc)
  • Financial incentives (for example, preferential rates, State aid, subsidies, cash grants, loan guarantees, etc)

Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?

Availability of funding through the Special Fund on Land Reclamation and earmarked budgetary allocations, in the context of a steady economic growth, high profile of afforestation in the political debate and committed management at the level of the ministry responsible for forestry (particularly from 2005-2008)|
Positive feedbaack and support on behalf of the population at large and the relevant CSOs
Involvement of forestry specialists, expertise, and the use of forestry norms for the establishment of plantations |


In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?


Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

- specialised unit within the ministry has been established;
- specialised inspectors within the subordinated forestry agencies are are now acquaited with the activity;
- specialised institutes for technical documents and specialised companies for afforestation works are readily available.

Related to financial aspects

Funding from two distinct sources, used to be secured in the past, but is decreasing nowadays. This decrease in available funding in the last years is projected to increase from 2010 on, with the implementation of the Measure 221 NRDP 2007-2013 and the afforestation measure supported from the Special Environmental Fund. |

Related to technical aspects

- the costliness of afforestation measures;
- the importance of sustainable land management;
- the bad past practice of extentind agricultural production preponderantly on the expense of forestry (instead of agricultural technnologies, such as the "green revolution" in the 1950's); |

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