The Ukrainian Carpathians have become a shelter for people fleeing conflict in the east of the country. FZS and partners have been supporting the protected areas and the Internally Displaced People they are hosting in various ways.
A new reality for Ukraine’s protected areas
We have been involved in the conservation of the Ukrainian Carpathians since 2014. Working alongside the government, we provide direct support to protected areas by conducting activities such as biodiversity surveys to guide the expansion of protected areas, and sourcing needed fieldwork and operational equipment.
However, since February 24th, 2022, many of the protected areas here have become a refuge for people fleeing conflict in the east of the country. Now, with partners, we have set up 1,000 lodging options at protected area infrastructure in the Carpathians and Polesia, and we are providing additional support to the protected areas in this time of need.
Our overall goal remains the same as before the escalation of war: to help ensure that the ecological systems of the Carpathian Mountains and the services they provide are protected effectively and sustainably.
Protected areas in Ukraine have been largely cut off from other funding sources over the past few weeks, making some supplies scarce or impossible to source within the country. To overcome this, we have been providing ongoing funding to help cover the costs of fuel, heating, conversions of facilities to shelter Internally Displaced People (IDPs), food, medicine, and other essential supplies.
Together with partners, we have sent over 35 tons of goods to support IDPs staying in the protected areas – food, warm clothing, bedding, medicines, and more. This was a combined FZS-coordinated response that included our partners in Romania (Foundation Conservation Carpathia), Slovakia (Aevis), and Germany (Nationale Naturlandschaften e. V.).
An additional challenge is the increased risk of fires. Springtime is normally a fire risk season in Ukraine, but the war is exacerbating the issue. As such, the FZS Ukraine team has sent seventy extinguisher backpacks to three protected areas in Polesia and another fifty to eastern parks bordering occupied territories.