A unique European project named Vio-Parc Varnița financed by Daac Hermes S.A. company is aiming to create a microclimate near Nistru river, in eastern Republic of Moldova, thus trying to bring nature to its origins by creating artificial lakes, forest plantations and medicinal plant crops. The idea of the park was put forward by the president of the company Vasilii Chirtoca and his partner Igor Scerbinschi who conceived the project as an ecological settlement.
The project, which it will spread over 130 hectares of land, is located near Varnița, Anenii noi district, above a former sand and gravel pit, at a altitude of 100m above Nistru river which flows nearby. Sepp Holzer, the international consultant for natural agriculture, designed a layout of 6 ha of cascade-connected lakes and hill terraces and proposed restoring and enriching the soil through growing different plant varieties. As a result, the new environment would ensure proper humidity conditions for plant growth and would reduce wind power, reducing drought damages.
The first plantations of conifer and hardwood seedlings were already established here, using species as Norway spruce, larch, firs, beech, oak, maples, ash and others. Although the soil conditions are rather tough, the success rate of forest seedlings is high, having active growth during the vegetation season. The future forests on the site will prevent water evaporation from the soil and excessive sweating of plants, increasing the relative humidity of the air and thus softening the temperature extremes during winter and summer. According to Andrei Cambur, the manager of the nursery, the forest species should be complementary to fruit trees as apples, pears, apricots, cherries, already planted on the site, ensuring a proper interaction with each other and protecting themselves from various diseases and pests. The first two greenhouses were built for tree and vegetable production, including in the future a grafting workshop.
Conifer seedling plantation in Vio-Parc Varnița, Anenii Noi district, Moldova Republic. Photo credit: Sorin T. Schiop
The artificial lakes cascade was designed as an alternative to low precipitation rate during summer season. The system used for creating the structure of the lakes involved soil digging, moving and compaction, after a Sepp Holzer method. The water was pumped here from Nistru river, while the soil removed from the bottom of the lakes was used for creating 12 m height hill terraces nearby. The lakes are already populated with several fish species, while on the surface waterlilies are creating a spectacular view.
Lakes cascade construction in Vio-Parc Varnița, Moldova Republic. Photo credit: Sorin T. Schiop
The park is the home of several grown species of medicinal herbs, as lavender, marigold, chamomile, sage, mint, melissa, nettle, burdock, hops and others, which will be used in production as raw material for Viorica Cosmetic, one of the factories owned by the company. In time, the aim of the project is building a village which will host an industrial base for the production of plant extracts and a scientific facility for studying plant properties and their effect on human health. Also, several ecological settlements will be built here, where the visitors will be able to live in nature, eating natural organic fruits and walking through conifer forests.
The first marigold harvest at Vio-Parc Varnita, Moldova Republic. Photo credit: noi.md
As a visitor of the park construction, I can say that the efforts of Daac Hermes company and all the people who are working here should be a model for Romania and other European countries, as there are still private projects aiming to change the microclimate, which will offer so many benefits to the local community.
Main photo: General view of Vio-Parc Varnița. Photo credit: noi.md
About the Author:
Sorin T. Șchiop
Forestry engineer working in a Romanian forest district. He has a PhD in Genetics and Plant Breeding, with most of the research conducted at the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. His expertise includes genetic diversity and biochemical response of Norway spruce seedlings to salt and drought stress, greenhouse and nursery production of conifer seedlings (seed and grafting), forestry management.