baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2017 copyright christoph hase

Izvoarele Nerei Nature Reserve, Romania

This is the largest (50 km 2 ) virgin forest of Romania 1 and one of the largest virgin Opens internal link in current window Fagus sylvatica (European beech) dominated forests in the world . The reserve is a part of Semenic-Cheile Caraşului National Park.

The reserve consists of two adjacent north-south orientated mountain valleys. The altitude varies between 620 and 1400 m. The forest is almost pure F. sylvatica , very little influenced by man 2 . The wood volume at the best sites is very high for a broadleaf forest, frequently over 1200 m 3 /ha 3 . Undergrowth is sparse. Annual precipitation ranges from 750 to 1200 mm and average annual temperature from 4 to 10°C 2 .

A trail runs through the reserve along the ridge between the two valleys. It is easiest to start from “Complexul turistic Semenic”, an almost dead hotel complex north of the reserve. Only one hotel (Cabana Andra) is still open year-round ( as of 2016) . The trailhead is very poorly marked (see the last photo below). The reserve begins after a 2 km hike. The first part of the reserve is less interesting, even including old Opens internal link in current window Picea abies (Norway spruce) plantations. It is only after “Poiana Mare” or after 5 km from the trailhead that the great primeval forest of Izvoarele Nerei begins. After “Poiana Mare” the trail is also very little used, actually almost non-existent in places; as the trail tags are also missing in some sections it is easy to lose the trail. Consequently, map-reading and compass skills are essential. A topographic map is available at least through . Note that sheep graze freely around “Complexul turistic” in the summer and are herded by sheepdogs: caution! From the south, a much longer hike is needed to reach the reserve.


1 Veen, P. et al. (2010): Virgin forests in Romania and Bulgaria: results of two national inventory projects and their implications for protection. Biodivers Conserv 19 :1805–1819.

2 /02e609d635ef9909091ef1700c7134f7/en/tentativelists/6023/

3 Turcu, T.: The "Izvoarele Nerei" Scientific Reserve - Short Presentation.

Official site:

Nera Creek, elev. 930 m. Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest. Elev. 1020 m.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest on ridge at 1220 m.
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) forest at approx. 1300 m.
Nera Creek at 920 m. Fagus sylvatica (European beech) and Abies alba (European silver fir).
Izvoarele Nerei trailhead in “Complexul turistic Semenic”.