Virgin Forests and their Unique Biodiversity: A Film in the Making

Virgin forests — also known as old-growth, primeval, or even ancient woodlands— have the distinction of being very old and nearly untouched by humans. They are rare, in that much of our world’s forests have been razed one or even several times. Virgin forests exhibit unique ecological features such as species richness, wilderness, conservation value, and resilience.

While many of the world’s virgin forests have disappeared, Romania is estimated to have over 250,000 acres of possible virgin forests. Of these, nearly 50,000 acres have been nominated for inclusion as part of a World Heritage Site.

virgin forests
Photo Courtesy: The Virgo Project

The need to increase awareness of Romania’s virgin forests and their unique biodiversity

Romania’s virgin forests, the largest in the EU, have been threatened by illegal deforestation and a lack of conservation awareness.  Logging by foreign and domestic companies is destroying wild woodland at high speeds. Even in National Parks such as Semenic and Domogled, logging is destroying large sections of the last wild European beech forests. They have the threats of unsustainable resource use and poor forest management as well.   If the Romanian virgin forest disappears, a natural evolutionary model goes, too, and affects biodiversity that has been created over thousands of years.

In these virgin forests, nature survives in a pure form that has been unaffected by human influence. They are home to terrestrial species of plants and animals, many of which endangered or very rare in cultivated forests. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, the Romanian virgin forest, like many other primordial woodlands, shelter under their crowns more than 10,000 species of animals, from unicellular organisms, fungi, plants, insects to familiar creatures such as the wild boar, stag, chamois, wolf, lynx, eagle owl, and brown bear. These are species symbiotically connected to each other in what has come to be known as “the lungs of Europe.”

A group of independent filmmakers wants to help you experience Romania’s virgin forests

Source: The Virgo Project

An international media production team called Volod Hendrix has decided it is time to bring the untouched biodiversity of Romania’s virgin forests to film audiences around the world. The Virgo Project was conceptualized by “Vllad and Lise, two artistic souls” who realized the importance of the virgin forests of Romania and its conservation. The film will document 4,000 km in 70 different locations, covering the major points of Carpathian Chain and the most scenic places of the country, including the east side to the Danube Delta. With stunning landscapes and cultural treasures, the Romanian virgin forest is one of the unique corners of the world, and one which the filmmakers, including Norwegian environmental journalist/ producer Khristina Santos, want to share with a new audience.

They see their filmmaking as an opportunity to “rescue an ancient human-nature relationship.” The Virgo Project will not only show the wildlife of the forest, its connection to the country’s culture, and its influence and importance for the entire planet — it will expose the deforested areas and the endangered corners.  They plan to use drones as birds’ point of views, tilt shots from the ground, close-ups of nature, and slider shots to drag the viewer right into the story.

As a conservation documentary with a whimsical touch, the film aims to raise awareness about the importance of the endangered virgin forest: its wonders, dangers, and its connection with each of us. It will show the opposing views of both trees and humans, taking us into the world of nature and making a connection that, today, may seem to be lost.

Want to learn more about the film, its financing, and the team behind the dream?

To inspire change. To encourage conservation. To model good actions for all forms of life. To collaborate with passionate people, with hard-working leaders that want to make of this world a better place.

Those are some of the goals of the young filmmakers of The Virgo Project. And they could use your help. They have a Kickstarter campaign that you can investigate. Their website is www.volodhendrix.com/virgo. If you want to get in touch or discuss the project in detail, contact them directly at hendrixvolod@gmail.com.

You can follow them on Facebook to see how the project progresses and join them us in real time during their adventure at facebook.com/volodhendrix. They’re also on Twitter at twitter.com/VolodHendrix, instagram.com/volod_hendrix, and youtube.com/channel/UCMpNR3uCnt72Q0kd3JvjZEw

All money raised from Kickstarter will be going directly to the film itself.


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About the Author

Carolyn writes from her home in Chepachet, RI, where she advocates with her lake association for chemical-free solutions to eradicate invasive species. She’s an organic gardener, nature lover, and vegetarian (no red meat since 1980) who draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+