Uzhanskyi National Nature Park

Image - Uzhansky National Nature Park landscape. Image - Uzhanskyi National Park (landscape). Image - Uzhanskyi National Park (panorama). Image - Uzhanskyi National Park (landscape).

Uzhanskyi National Nature Park (Uzhanskyi natsionalnyi pryrodnyi park, or UNPP). A 39,153.3 ha national park established by presidential decree in September 1999 in the Carpathian Mountains of Transcarpathia oblast, in the upper reaches of the Uzh River and its tributaries in the Low Beskyd and on the western slopes of the Polonynian Beskyd along the Ukrainian-Slovak-Polish border. Its highest peaks are Velyka Ravka (1,304 m), Kreminets (1,221 m), Kinchyk (1,119 m), Stinka (1,092 m), and Krasiia (1,036 m). The UNPP was created out of the 14,665 ha Stuzhytsia Regional Landscape Park (est 1998) and other local preserves, some of which had existed since the early twentieth century (eg, the Stuzhytsia and Tykhyi preserves, the first protected areas in the Ukrainian Carpathians, which were established in 1908 to save the region’s ancient beech and fir forests.) The UNPP is part of the Eastern Carpathians Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, the first trinational biosphere reserve in the world, created by amalgamating the joint Polish-Slovak reserve (est 1992) of the same name and the UNPP. The border between the watersheds of the Black Sea (the Tysa River basin and the Dnister River basin) and Baltic Sea (the Sian River basin) runs through that reserve.

The UNPP has four distinct vegetation zones: beech forests, beech-fir forests, dwarf shrublands with green alder, and subalpine meadows (Ukrainian: polonyny). The upper forest line (above 1,200 m) has rare beech krummholz vegetation. The local flora and fauna are very diverse and exhibit many features specific to the UNPP’s location. Over 600 vascular plant species, more than 40 of which are included in Ukraine’s Red Data Book, are found there. One rare endemic species, Josika’s lilac, is included in the Red Data Book of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The UNPP is famous for its numerous rare, endemic lichen species. Its vast forested areas provide a suitable habitat for large mammals such as the brown bear, European lynx, wolf, and reintroduced European bison. The UNPP has 120 registered animal species, of which 22 are mammals, 82 are birds (including the rare black stork and, occasionally, the golden eagle), and 15 are amphibians or reptiles.

Krichfalushi, V., et al (eds). Uzhans’kyi natsional’nyi park (Uzhhorod 2001)

Volodymyr Kricsfalusy

[This article was written in 2008.]

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