Movile (‘mounds’ in Romanian) or Hundertbücheln (‘hundred-hills’ in Saxon), is a small dead-end village, named after the bizarre and fascinating hills in the surrounding countryside. This otherworldly landscape is unique, holding a rare and extremely high plant diversity. However, over the last few months there has been growing concern, amongst us and others, about this incredibly special place.
We have noticed the large scale agricultural activity extending further and further into the hills, with increasing intensity. The mounds are being scraped away, rape and maize monocultures are replacing grassland, wetlands are being filled in and toxic pesticides are being sprayed onto the land.
This has led to habitat destruction and environmental degradation; a farmer from the village reported that 270 of his goats died because they accidentally ate the sprayed maize. Visitors and botanists are concerned that this unique landscape is being destroyed.
We collected all this information and presented it to the local authorities. As a result the agri-business was fined and remedial action was ordered. Unfortunately, the fine is a drop in the ocean to these large agri-businesses and it remainds doubtful that the ‘remedial action’ really brings about a change in behaviour and if the initial state can be restored. Thankfully though, the local community has become more active as a result and there are now enough concerned people to keep watch over this landscape to ensure further exploitation is not allowed to continue.