A new reality for Ukraine’s protected areas

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.

05/24/2022, Zanne Labuschagne

Stronger together

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.

Support for protected areas

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.).

Equipment bound for Ukraine is loaded into a vehicle in Frankfurt. © Daniel Rosengren
Mattresses purchased by FZS Ukraine are delivered to park infrastructure converted to lodge IDPs in the Carpathians. © Ukrainian Parks
Ukrainian protected area staff collect a batch of supplies at the border – sent from Romania, with the support of Sameday logistics. © FZS
FZS partner project in Romania – Foundation Conservation Carpathia – load a vehicle convoy with food and other supplies destined for Ukraine. © FCC

An additional risk - fire

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.

Some conservation work is still possible

As of May 5, 2022, it is still possible for our team and partners to conduct some biodiversity monitoring activities in the Carpathians. We are processing data from the camera traps that have been monitoring the protected areas this past winter for example.

For a PDF of the support that FZS and partners have provided Ukraine, please download the report.

Do you want to support protected areas in the Carpathians?


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