Stories from a 'Land Beyond the Forest' by Paul White


Wild Transylvania is a collection of stories documenting the lives of people and animals in a far away place on the fringes of Europe, a place known as the "land beyond the forest". People here are tough and rugged, striving to make a living in a landscape that has been unchanged for centuries, a place where wild bears and wolves still roam. If you have any comments, observations or enquiries, please send me a message using the contact form on the right hand side of this page and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

"Transhumance comprises the seasonal movement of livestock and people between summer and winter pastures. It is an ancient method of pastoralism that has significant relevance to modern day discussions about rewilding. Paul White has been interested in the life and work of transhumance shepherds since his introduction to Romania in 1993. In this article, Paul looks at the role of Livestock Guardian Dogs in relation to large predator conservation…."
InsideEcology.com - 16.05.2018

A bear with her three cubs bears have been seeking refuge in the village cemetery each night. I have been to the cemetery several times over the past few days to investigate and I found a lot of scat and a number of graves with juvenile paw marks on them. I also set up a camera trap close to the upper entrance close to the forest. The question that everyone has been asking is why the cemetery? continue....

It is well documented that ecosystem health can be positively assisted by top predators such as wolves. However, if we are to successfully coexist with them we need to look at the reasons or excuses for their persecution. In Transylvania I have interviewed many shepherds and forest workers, but to date I cannot find one documented case of a wolf attacking a human. So if wolves pose virtually no physical threat to man, why are they feared and hated so much? continue....

Village life in Transylvania
A village spectacle occurs each evening which is the norm for villagers in Transylvania but unique to outside observers. After the cows have grazed all day on meadows close to forests where bears and wolves roam, protected by herders and dogs, they are then returned to the edge of the village in the evening. From there, the cows make their own way home! Continue....

Most of flowers and plants that I photograph are situated on fertile meadows surrounding the village of Ozsdola. These meadows provide nutritional grazing for local livestock and a rich and vital food supply for honey bees. It is also common to see villagers picking flowers, herbs and plants for use in medicinal teas and syrups, local knowledge passed down through the generations. continue....

There is a rich and vibrant Roma culture in Transylvania, and although their history is full of persecution and quite appalling treatment, I want to concentrate on the Roma of today. It is quite incredible that so little is known about them when you consider their community makes up approximately 2% of the Romanian population, and estimated to grow rapidly due to a higher than average birth rate. Continue....

I am no petrol head so it comes as a surprise that my story of a road trip over the Transfagarasan highway in 2008 is my most read page to date. At the time I was so impressed with this drive over the Carpathian Mountains that I decided to drop the 'Top Gear' team at the BBC a line about it. I never received a reply, but they did drive the Transfagarasan the following year. I just wonder.... continue