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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Poland / Slovakia / Ukraine


© Photo: Zbigniew Niewiadomski
  General Description   The East Carpathians is a transboundary mountain biosphere reserve with significant value for biodiversity conservation in Central Europe. Within the biosphere reserve, four distinct vegetation types are found: beech forest (Fagetum sylvaticae), beech-fir forest (Fageto-Abietum), dwarf-shrublands with green alder (Alnetum viridis), and a belt of treeless ‘poloniny’ - subalpine meadows dominated by Prata subalpina. The mixed Carpathian forest provides suitable conditions for large mammals such as brown bear (Ursus arctos), European bison (Bison bonasus), lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolf (Canis lupus) and over 100 species of birds live in the area such as the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).
This first trilateral biosphere reserve was designated in 1998, uniting the bilateral Polish-Slovak one (designated in 1992) with the Ukrainian part. In order to support the transboundary co-operation, the Foundation for the Eastern Carpathians Biodiversity Conservation (ECBC) was established in 1995.
Population density of the different areas ranges from vast wild spaces on the Polish side to the relatively densely populated Ukrainian side with cultivated valleys, hay meadows, pastures and deciduous forests. Forestry remains the main local economic activity. Agriculture is limited to cattle raising, sheep breeding and small-scale organic farming utilizing traditional land-use patterns. Tourist services are rapidly developing, especially on the Polish side. Sustainable development projects in the biosphere reserve aim especially at the development of sustainable nature-oriented tourism (e.g. in providing training on ecotourism and management skills for local entrepreneurs).
Conservation projects have focused on the management of nature reserves, mountain meadow maintenance and protection, conservation of old monumental trees, river corridors and water ecosystem protection, lowering the impact of tourism on the core area and restoration of historical buildings. A biodiversity conservation project with positive influence on local sustainable tourism development is the reintroduction of the Hutzul horse. Planned reintroduction of the European bison and beaver to the Carpathians could again raise tourist attractiveness and facilitate development of nature-based tourist services.
Future sustainable tourism development will only be successful if all partners implement common tourism services development strategy. Another important task is to establish a common GIS (Geographic Information System) database as a tool to approach the East Carpathians as one coherent natural area in order to facilitate common decisions.
Scientists in the biosphere reserve have unified wildlife inventory methodologies and databases, and share research results during the annual ‘East Carpathian BR conference’.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate broad-leaf forest and woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Poland: Carpathian fir-beech and beech forests; mountain fir-spruce forest; poor mountain beech forest; mountain sycamore forest; Carpathian grey alder forest, high mountain woodlands of green alder; alpine "polonina" grassland; high mountain, endemic communities; high mountain herbaceous meadow; mountain herbaceous meadow; humid mountain herbaceous meadow; humid upland and mountain pasture; humid lowland and upland grassland
Slovakia: Beech and fir-beech forest association dominant; oak-hornbeam, mountain sycamore maple and alluvial grey alder associations cover only a small area; mountain meadows above upper forest limit ("poloniny") and valley meadows; river ecosystems; water reservoir Starina (artificial)
Ukraine: Mountain landscape characterized by deciduous (Fagetum, Acereto-Fagetum) and conifer (Abietum albae, Piceetum abietis) forests with species such as beech (Fagus sylvatica), sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) and oak (Quercus petraea); sub-alpine meadows ("poloninas") characterized by Nardus stricta, Deschampsia caespitosa and Festuca rubra; terraces along rivers (for example the Uzh river) with Alnus glutinosa, A. incana, Salix alba and S. purpurea; secondary meadows and pastures on former forest spots with dominating species such as Deschamsia caespitosa, Festuca rubra and Agrostis vulgaris
  Location   Poland: 49°00' to 49°22'N; 22°02' to 22°54'E
Slovakia: 48°56' to 49°11'N; 22°09' to 22°34'E
Ukraine: ("Uzhans’ki") 48°53’ to 49°05'N; 22°27’ to 22°54'E
("Nadsans’ki") 49°00' to 49°15'N; 22°41' to 23°00'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   213,211
  Core area(s)   24,130 (Pol: 18,425; Slov: 2,643; Ukr: 3,062)
  Buffer zone(s)   33,310 (Pol: 10,776; Slov: 14,373; Ukr: 8,161)
  Transition area(s) when given   155,771 (Pol: 84,645; Slov: 23,762; Ukr: 47,364)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   Poland: +420 to +1,346 Slovakia: +210 to +1,208 Ukraine: +226 to +1,251
  Year designated   1998
  Administrative authorities   Poland: Bieszczady National Park in Ustrzyki Gorne Administration of the Carpathian Landscape Parks in Krosno Slovakia: Administration of Poloniny National Park in Snina, which reports to: State Nature Conservancy, and Ministry of the Environment, (informed being also National MAB Committee of the Slovak Republic) Ukraine: Direction of National Nature Park "Uzhans’ki", Regionalniy landshaphtniy park "Nadsans’ki"; National Nature Parks and Protected Areas Administration in Kyiv

Last updated: 26/02/2007

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