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Carpathian-Balkan Paleoscience Workshop 2021 (CBPW2021)

Sacel, Romania
Workshop report
Contact person
Marcel Mindrescu
E-Mail address
Working groups
Meeting Category

The PAGES-supported Carpathian-Balkan Paleoscience Workshop (CBPW2021) will be held from 5-10 October 2021 in Sacel, Maramures county, Romania.

It could potentially also be a hybrid event, depending on COVID-19 disruptions.

This workshop was originally planned for 31 August to 4 September 2020 but was postponed due to coronavirus disruptions.


Pensiunea Lacramioara
Sacel village, Maramures county, Romania

Sacel, located in northern Romania, is at the meeting point of Rodna Mountains National Park and Maramures Mountains Natural Park. The venue is close to an international airport (Cluj-Napoca, two hours) and very accessible to potential participants from the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries such as Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia etc.


The workshop is an initiative of the Association of Applied Geography GEOCONCEPT, endorsed by Past Global Changes (PAGES), Mountain Research Initiative and the Carpathian Convention and will be hosted in a traditional village in the picturesque region of Maramures (Transylvania). This area of Romania is well known for its ancient wood-carving culture and uniquely preserved agro-forest-pastoral landscapes and nature, as well as for its amazing food, traditional music and dancing.

This open, international workshop, for up to 100 participants, is for researchers (young and senior) from or working in the countries pertaining to the Carpathian and Balkan areas. Aside from scientists from the region, the workshop is open to and welcomes foreign researchers based in other countries, in order to support exchanges of ideas, connectivity and potential collaborations. Our concept is to make this event as accessible as possible to the regional scientific community – academics, experienced researchers and young researchers sharing interests for the themes and objectives of the workshop.

The official language of the workshop is English. Translation facilities will only be provided for a planned event involving the local community.


The workshop will bring together leading researchers and experts in paleoscience from the Carpathian-Balkan region, and welcomes posters and oral presentations. The event will feature keynote lectures from well-respected scientists providing state-of-the-art overviews of main topics and open debates on a wide range of topics related to the regional climate dynamics of the Carpathian-Balkan region during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The poster session provides the opportunity to discuss results in more detail.

There will also be at least three mini-workshops included in the meeting:
1) Fire and paleoenvironmental reconstruction (bio-proxies, in general) - led by Gabriela Florescu (University of Suceava and Charles Univ Prague)
2) Dendroclimatology - led by Viorica Nagavciuc (University of Suceava and Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany)
3) Bridging the Divide between US and European Perspectives on Sustainable Forestry Through Effective Science Communication - led by Bill Keeton, Uni Vermont, USA (forest in an era of global change session).


Organizers propose an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scientific workshop tackling the climate and environmental changes in the Carpathian-Balkan region since the Last Glacial Maximum. We envisage that this workshop will provide more insight into the most recent advances in paleosciences and help enhance regional collaboration in research, which is still understated, albeit significant steps have been taken in recent years.

The CBPW2020 workshop will provide the context for presenting scientific results synthesized from multi-proxy data with a focus on the Last Termination and Holocene, as well as on the Anthropocene, including climate and environment reconstruction and human impact.

The Carpathian-Balkan region is one of the main transitional climatic zones in Europe, lying at the contact between Mediterranean and Black Sea air masses, the Eastern Steppes and Atlantic-influenced area. Thus, the main questions are how climate and the environment have varied in the Carpathian-Balkan area, what is its role in the larger regional and continental interplay and how the local and regional variabilities relate to the continental scale.

These questions have yet to be answered to an adequate degree. Whereas abundant paleoclimatic evidence is available regarding the North Atlantic and Western Europe, in CEE research data is still scarce, although in recent years paleoenvironmental research has become more dynamic in the region, with local researchers establishing links with foreign scientific organizations for long-term collaborations which yield increasingly relevant data.

CBPW20 can be regarded as a follow-up event on the previous PAGES-supported workshops organized by our team in 2011, 2014 and 2016, which have provided a good framework for sharing research and collaboration for further investigation of the Carpathian-Lower Danube-Balkan region.

Timescales covered

Late Pleistocene and Holocene. The goal of the workshop is to bring forward data for climate reconstruction from multi-proxy studies with a focus on the Last Termination (ca 22–11.5 ka) and Holocene in the Carpathian-Balkan region.


The main objectives we intend to achieve include:

- strengthening the Carpathian Working Group (CarpClim) as a framework of collaboration in palaeoclimatic reconstruction throughout the Carpathian-Balkan countries
- creating a bridge between experienced researchers and young researchers, and to review the outcome of such collaborations initiated during the others workshops
- publishing the most valuable contributions presented in the workshop in a special volume of an international journal (e.g. Quaternary International) in order to support and promote the research carried out in this region
- discussing a framework for future collaborations and synergies of the group, e.g. by initiating joint projects using the financial tools provided by the European Union (such as the TERRANOVA project, already in progress, which is focused mainly on training 15 PhD students for paleoenvironmental investigations using state-of-the-art methods, techniques and novel scientific paradigms)
- exploring possibilities for organizing summer schools and coordinated field research with shared field equipment and with experienced researchers from different countries
- approaching, within a newly introduced section of the workshop, the topic of vegetation and climate change in the Carpathian-Balkan region, particularly considering the sensitive backdrop of advanced deforestation in the Romanian Carpathians and its complex impacts in the context of current environmental changes. This objective is the main reason for selecting the venue in the forested area of the Northern Romanian Carpathians, at the meeting point of two protected areas, which offers the chance to explore this topic on site, along with the opportunity to visit several sites used for paleoclimate reconstructions, some of which are currently threatened by human activities.


Topics of interest of CBPW2020 include, but are not limited to, the following scientific subjects:
- Characteristics and extents of former glaciation(s) in the Carpathian-Balkan region
- Lake sediments and peat-bog deposits as paleoenvironmental archives
- Past climate and history of vegetation changes
- Karst and cave records as recorders of climate change
- Dendrochronology
- Geoarchaeology, geohistory and landscape archaeology
- Climate variations and fluvial dynamics
- Loess-Paleosoil complexes
- Recent climate change modeling techniques
- Human impact and pollution history
- Land-use/land-cover changes and climate - modeling and analysis
- Forest ecosystems and sustainable management in an era of global change

Forest Session – William S. Keeton, Facilitator
Within the CBPW2020 there will be a special session dedicated to sustainable forest management, including adaptation to climate change and continued provisioning of the forest ecosystem services communities depend upon. This session will emphasize research in the Carpathian-Balkan forest domain, but will take a broad approach to topics in forest ecology, science, and management relating to global change.  Talks from a range of disciplines are welcomed, particularly those addressing the challenge of sustaining forest ecosystems into an uncertain future
The topics of interest include:
- forest disturbances, alteration of disturbance regimes, and associated management challenges;
- historic and contemporary forest change with implications for ecosystem services;
- opportunities and challenges for management of national parks;
- forest mapping, inventories, and surveys;
- human impacts on forest ecosystems and biological diversity;
- Carpathian-Balkan forests and carbon storage;
- forests and agro-pastoral / agro-touristic activities;
- Carpathian and Balkan old growth forests;
- forest management through time (e.g. traditional, Austrian-Hungarian, socialist, post-socialist, modern);
- deforestation, soil erosion, and other environmental impacts; and
- traditional forms of forest management by ethnic groups, etc.

Forest resources in the Carpathian-Balkan domain are increasingly vulnerable both to global change – including climate disruption, alteration of disturbance regimes, and invasive species – and increasing pressure for exploitable natural resources. And yet the goods and services these systems provide are critical for rural livelihoods and warrant consideration by scientists, forest managers, and policy makers. This special session will present robust research results with the goal of promoting strategies for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems in the Carpathian-Balkan region, particularly in the increasingly challenging context of present and future global changes.


During the conference two mini-workshops will be organized dedicated to young researchers which will focus dendroclimatology and bio-proxies (charcoal) in lake sediments, coordinated by postdoctoral researchers from the Department of Geography and the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Suceava.

Keynote speakers

- Angelica FEURDEAN
- Zoltán KERN
- William KEETON
- Petr KUNEŠ

Financial support

PAGES has provided some funding for the attendance of early-career researchers and researchers from developing countries. Workshop organizers offer partial or full financial support for early-career researchers (under 35) who apply to participate in CBPW2020. The number of grants will range between 10 and 20, depending on the number of applicants and the quality of their submitted work.

Applicants for grants (covering registration fee and/or transportation costs) are required to specify their age and to submit the title and abstract of their presentation, a letter of application highlighting the most relevant contributions of their research, and a letter of recommendation from an experienced researcher no later than 1 June 2020. Considering the limited number of participants, we will accept applicants and award the participation grants according to the order of registration.

Abstract submission

Please use the abstract formatting settings provided in this example template. Abstracts will range from 1 to 4 pages (extended abstracts) for both oral and poster submissions.

Abstracts will be submitted upon registration. Early-bird registration deadline: 1 June 2021.

Acceptance notifications will be sent to participants after submission by email.

All accepted abstracts will be published in a book of abstracts as a special issue of GeoReview and will also be available online.


For registration and abstract submission, please email workshop organizer Marcel Mindrescu:

Early-bird registration and abstract proposal deadline: 1 June 2021

The registration fee for CBPW2020 includes all registration costs (workshop materials), coffee breaks, accommodation and meals for the duration of the event. Participants will need to cover transportation costs.

For all information about costs and payment methods, access the first circular.

Participants who have specific dietary restrictions or requirements are kindly asked to communicate this upon registration.
Accommodation will be provided in twin rooms. Participants who prefer to occupy a single room will pay a supplementary accommodation fee. However, this is not encouraged due to the limited number of rooms available at the venue.
If supplementary rooms are necessary, arrangements will be made with hotels located in the vicinity.

Field trips

CBPW2020 will also include daily field trips to Maramures Depression, Rodna Mts (National Park) and Maramures Mts (Natural Park) in the Northern Romanian Carpathians focusing on glacial environment, caves and karst landscapes, forest ecosystems and management, agro-pastoral activities, traditional patterns of sustainable use of mountain landscapes, and human impact on mountain environments.
Rodna National Park:
Maramures Natural Park:

How to get there

Maramures region is located in northern Romania and can be reached easily by car from neighboring European countries such as Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Republic of Moldova.
Despite the somewhat larger distance, participants from the Balkans can drive across southern Romania and the beautiful region of Transylvania to reach Sacel.
For air transport it is suggested you arrive at Cluj-Napoca International Airport (Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport, the largest airport in Transylvania). From Cluj-Napoca organizers can assist you to reach Sacel. Depending on the number of participants and arrival times a minibus for the transfer may be arranged.
For any additional questions or assistance please contact the workshop organizer Marcel Mindrescu (details below).

If you want to extend your visit in Maramures before or after the workshop and to be accommodated at the same venue where CBPW2020 takes place, please let the organizers know. They can provide assistance and information about leisure options.

First circular

Access the first circular here (older information, based on 2020 event).

Further information concerning the workshop, the detailed scientific program, field trip costs and accommodation will be included in the Second Circular.

Scientific Committee

- Marie-France LOUTRE, Past Global Changes (PAGES), Bern, Switzerland
- Angelica FEURDEAN, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum & LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Frankfurt am Main, Germany and "Emil Racoviţă" Institute of Speleology, Romanian Academy of Science, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Enikő K. MAGYARI, HAS-NHMUS Research Group for Paleontology, Budapest, Hungary
- Simon HUTCHINSON, University of Salford, School of Environment and Life Sciences, United Kingdom
- Ian S. EVANS, University of Durham, Department of Geography, United Kingdom and University of Suceava, Department of Geography, Romania
- Sorina FĂRCAȘ, Institute of Biological Research, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Zoltan KERN, Institute for Geochemical Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
- William KEETON, Forest Ecology and Forestry at the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, USA
- Petr KUNEŠ, Department of Botany, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
- Daniel VERES, "Emil Racoviţă" Institute of Speleology-Romanian Academy/Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Gabriela FLORESCU, Department of Geography, "Ștefan cel Mare" University of Suceava, Romania
- Aritina HALIUC, Department of Geography, "Ștefan cel Mare" University of Suceava, Romania

Further information

Contact the workshop organizer Marcel Mindrescu, University of Suceava, Romania:

Go to the official workshop website: