The Carpathians are one of the strongholds of biodiversity in Europe
The variety of habitats offered by the Carpathians is matched by the diversity of the plant and animal life. It comes as little surprise, then, to discover that this region is a treasure trove of biodiversity.
It is a landscape from another time. It could be the setting for ancient fairy tales, stories full of picturesque mountain vistas and mysterious forests. The Carpathian Mountains provide just the right atmosphere, with peaks of over 2500 metres soaring into the sky and pine trees clinging to steep slopes. Flower-strewn alpine meadows and grazing flocks of sheep are part of the scenery, as are wide expanses of largely unspoilt beech and mixed forest.
It is therefore little wonder that the Carpathian wilderness now carries an international seal of approval: in July 2007, the UNESCO declared over 290 square kilometres of virgin beech forest in the Slovak Republic and Ukraine a World Natural Heritage Site. There are now numerous protected areas in the Carpathians devoted to preserving these treasures. The spectrum ranges from biosphere reserves that combine conservation with sustainable use through to national parks where nature reigns supreme. In theory.
Text Kerstin Viering, Photos Daniel Rosengren