The Transylvanian Highlands are located in the centre of Romania, in the triangle between the historic cities of Sibiu, Sighișoara and Brașov. Within the area there are several protected Natura 2000 sites, such as the Special Protected Area for birds (Podișul Hârtibaciului) and the a Site of Community Importance (Hârtibaciu Sud Vest). Podișul Hârtibaciului is the largest terrestrial protected area in Romania, second only to the Danube Delta, which is an aquatic ecosystem.
The area holds a unique mosaic of ecosystems (forests, grasslands, wetlands and arable land) that make it a hotspot for biodiversity: 60% of the total number of bird species and 30% of the total number of plant species observed in Romania can be found in this region. It is an area of major importance for large carnivores, such as European brown bear, Eurasian wolf and lynx. A number of declining bird species also have significant populations within these sites, including the corncrake, woodlark and lesser spotted eagle and the same can be said for many threatened species of plants, bats, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians.
This extraordinary biodiversity is the result of a harmonious coexistence of man and nature that has shaped this very special cultural landscape. The Transylvanian Highlands are still a rich source of knowledge about traditional forms of land management and handicrafts that have sharply declined or have already disappeared elsewhere in Europe.