Carpathian protected areas

Image - Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park landscape. Image - A waterfall on the Smuhariv Creek in the Vyzhnytsia National Nature Park. Image - Skole Beskyd National Nature Park Image - A Boiko church near Skole, Lviv oblast. Image - Gorgany Mountains landscape (Carpathians).

Carpathian protected areas [Карпатські природні заповідники; Karpats’ki pryrodni zapovidnyky]. A network of national parks and nature reserves established with the aim of protecting the biological and landscape diversity of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains. Because two-thirds of Ukraine’s territory lies within the steppe and forest-steppe zones, characterized by lowland landscapes and steppe flora and fauna, the mountains have a particular significance for Ukraine and are considered part of the national heritage. While protected areas occupy about 4 percent of Ukraine’s territory, in the Ukrainian Carpathians they occupy 8 percent, and in Transcarpathia oblast (as in Ternopil oblast), over 13 percent.

The first Carpathian protected areas were established in the early 20th century. Several forest reserves were set up in Transcarpathia: the Stuzhytsia beech-forest reserve (est 1908), the Tykhyi fir-forest reserve (est 1908), and the Pip Ivan spruce-forest reserve (est 1912). In 1913, in accordance with Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky’s decree, the Kniazh-Dvir yew-forest reserve was established on the territory of today’s Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.

The current network of Carpathian protected areas consists of several types of parks and reserves: the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve; the Gorgany Nature Reserve; the Carpathian National Nature Park, Synevyr National Nature Park, Uzhanskyi National Nature Park, Vyzhnytsia National Nature Park, Skole Beskyd National Nature Park, Halych National Nature Park, Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park, and Zacharovanyi Krai National Nature Park; and the Sian Regional Landscape Park and Prytysianskyi Regional Landscape Park. The largest and most interesting among them from the nature-conservation point of view is the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, created on the basis of the Carpathian Nature Reserve. All of them are directly subordinated to a special subdivision of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine.

The Uzhanskyi National Nature Park and Sian Regional Landscape Park are constituent parts of the Eastern Carpathians Biosphere Reserve, the only trilateral (Polish-Slovak-Ukrainian) protected area of its type in the world. Increasing international co-operation in nature conservation in the Carpathian Mountains resulted in the adoption of the 2003 Carpathian Convention in Kyiv by the ministers of the environment of all seven countries occupying parts of the Carpathian region.

Stoiko, S. et al (eds). Zapovidni ekosystemy Karpat (Lviv 1991)
Krichfalushi, V. ‘Zapovidni terytorii Ukraïns'kykh Karpat,’ in Karpova, H. et al (eds). Pryroda Karpats'koho rehionu Ukraïny (Kyiv 1999)

Volodymyr Kricsfalusy

[This article was written in 2008.]

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