The large-scale primeval and old-growth forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians are unique in Europe. The chance to secure this heritage is historic and the window of opportunity is small – if we do not act now, we will face the loss of these forests.

These mountainous landscapes are of outstanding beauty. They represent functioning natural ecosystems that are inhabited by incredible wildlife and offer irreplaceable services to us humans. They provide fresh water, clean air, and many other ecosystem services. Tourists enjoy the outstanding, natural beauty of the Ukrainian Carpathians, and local communities and economies benefit greatly.

This project strives to protect 300,000 hectares of natural landscapes in the Carpathians, as one of the largest and most valuable networks of protected areas in Europe. Existing protected areas shall be enlarged and important primeval and old-growth forests added and therefore better protected. Enhanced protection needs well-equipped and functioning protected areas.

Therefore, alongside the government, we provide direct support to the areas in the form of uniforms, IT equipment, fieldwork equipment, new off-road vehicles, and the renovation of administrative and operational buildings. Technical advice and training are also essential and this is provided through an alliance of national and international partners. The ultimate goal of the project is to help ensure that the ecological systems of the Carpathian Mountains and the services they provide are protected effectively and sustainably.

Quick Facts
  • Project name: Carpathian Primary Forest Conservation
  • Project size: 3,102 km²
  • Project leader: Stephen Wright/Robert Brozovic/Michael Brombacher
  • Project start: 2014
The area’s landscapes are of outstanding beauty, offering great potential for nature-based tourism and other sustainable development opportunities. © Sergey Kantsyrenko
The Ukrainian Carpathians contain a total of 13 large-scale protected areas, the sizable and unfragmented beech and spruce forests of which make the region a focal point for biodiversity in Europe. © Daniel Rosengren
Through ecological monitoring, we discovered that around 300 brown bears live in this region. © Sergey Kantsyrenko
The Ukrainian Carpathian landscapes represent functioning natural ecosystems that are inhabited by incredible wildlife and offer irreplaceable services to us humans. They provide fresh water, clean air, and many other ecosystem services. © Sergey Kantsyrenko
Camera trap deployment in Skolivski Beskydy National Park as part of a study to assess Eurasian lynx abundance and distribution in the Carpathians. © Daniel Rosengren
Coral Tooth Fungus (Hericium coralloides) is a rare mushroom that grows on dead wood and is an indicator species of healthy old-growth forests. Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, Ukraine. © Daniel Rosengren
This project strives to protect 300,000 hectares of natural landscapes in the Carpathians, as one of the largest and most valuable networks of protected areas in Europe. © Daniel Rosengren
Red deer in Hutsulschyna National Nature Park in the Ukraine Carpathians. In 2018, we supported project partners to buy land in order to allow game populations to grow naturally. © Sergey Kantsyrenko
A natural lime stone arch in a primeval old-growth beech forests, called a Karst Bridge. © Daniel Rosengren
An old-growth forest, one of the few of its kind in the Uzhansky National Park. © Sergey Kantsyrenko
The forests of the Carpathians represent functioning natural ecosystems, inhabited by incredible wildlife. © Daniel Rosengren
The Carpathian Blue Slug (Bielzia coerulans) is endemic to the Carpathian Mountains. © Daniel Rosengren

Conservation Activities

Developing protected areas

We work together with partners to strengthen and expand the protected area network in the Ukrainian Carpathians, secure formal and lasting protection of its forests, and combat the threat of deforestation. The project also seeks to improve protected area connectivity to ensure that large-scale ecological processes such as migrations and genetic exchange between populations can continue. For instance, established in April 2019, Boikivshyna is the area’s newest national park. Covering approximately 12,000 hectares it lays the foundation for corridor connections not only with other national parks in Ukraine but also those in neighboring Poland and Slovakia. A further approximately 100,000-hectares of expansions are planned across other protected areas in the Ukrainian Carpathians. Through technical and financial support, we enhance management effectiveness, improve infrastructure, and building local capacity – including comprehensive ranger training – in targeted protected areas in the Carpathians.

Providing Resources

Ukraine has done a tremendous job covering the country’s beauty with a substantial network of protected areas, mainly national parks. On the other hand, Ukraine’s difficult economic situation doesn’t allow for sufficient financial and technical support for these areas. Park administrations, rangers, and scientists need professional and modern equipment, ranger posts, vehicles, and uniforms to fulfill their duties. Using private donations and third-party grants, the project helps to provide these resources.

Community work

Opportunities for local community participation, and for socio-economic planning, are limited within the current protected area management convention in Ukraine. To fill this gap, the project works with local communities and authorities to develop supplementary plans on these issues, to be incorporated into the protected area management plans. These plans are guided by the legal requirements of the “General Village Development Plans” of Ukraine.

In addition, workshops are held with local communities in order to identify their needs and develop the socio-economic aspect of protected area management plans in a participatory manner. Within local communities, the project identifies and promotes viable alternative sources of income to move away from timber extraction and the commercial harvest of non-timber forest products. Business models for conservation enterprises in the project area are being developed. These contain strategies for small and medium-sized enterprises that are in line with local nature conservation objectives.

Ecosystem monitoring

Historically, data on ecosystems and biodiversity collected in Ukrainian protected areas have been recorded in hand-written journals called the ‘Chronicles of Nature’. Although this method has maintained valuable records of sightings and biological changes, the system is in need of improvement to allow for better recording and transferring of data, and for more robust analyses. A new, cost-effective biodiversity monitoring scheme is being implemented and overseen by a joint Ukrainian-international working group. The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) is being piloted as the technical platform for data collection and storage. Furthermore, systematic camera trap surveys are being conducted in selected parks to help better understand the abundance and connectivity of the area’s wildlife – information that feeds back into park management plans for improving conservation effectiveness.

Environmental education/Public outreach

The lives and livelihoods of many inhabitants of the rural communities living adjacent to the protected areas in the Ukrainian Carpathians are closely linked to natural resources. At the same time, the area’s mountainous landscapes are of outstanding beauty, offering great potential for nature-based tourism and other sustainable development opportunities. Through an environmental communication campaign, targeted at key audiences within the local communities, we aim to improve knowledge of the ecosystem services that intact primary forests provide and the benefits that protected areas can bring for local people. Furthermore, the communications campaign also aims to promote dialogue between park authorities and local communities. By raising awareness of environmental issues and showing communities the benefits that protected areas can bring, we aim to cultivate a constituency for conservation in the villages surrounding the parks where the project works.

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Milestones

Transfer of essential equipment including vehicles, uniforms, IT and fieldwork equipment to 12 protected areas across the Ukrainian Carpathians.

2021

Boikivshyna National Park created by presidential decree.

2019

IKI funding launched to support the management and protection of five Carpathian national parks.

2019

KfW funding launched to support eight protected areas in the Carpathians.

2016

Feasibility studies completed for the Carpathians to elaborate potential expansion areas.

2014-2016

FZS work in Ukraine starts.

2014

Project Partners

Successful conservation is always the result of great teamwork. We collaborate with local communities, national authorities, and conservation organizations. Our partners make our conservation work possible.

  • Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR)
  • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
  • International Climate Initiative (IKI)
  • Institut für Tierökologie und Naturbildung
  • University of Freiburg
  • Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB)
  • augmentum
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“This natural heritage should belong to all Ukrainians – not to foreign forest companies. This is why we are working closely with our Ukrainian partners to secure one of the largest and most valuable networks of protected areas in Europe.”

Michael Brombacher, Head of FZS Europe Department

Contact

Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt von 1858 e.V.
Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1
60316 Frankfurt

Telephone: +49 (0)69 - 94 34 46 0
Fax: +49 (0)69 - 43 93 48
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