East Carpathians

©Wikimedia Commons/Andrnator
East Carpathians Transboundary Biosphere Reserve

The East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve is a transboundary mountain reserve located in Central Europe that encompasses areas of significant value for biodiversity conservation. It covers the western edge of the Eastern Carpathians stretching across Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. The European mountain areas of the reserve are among the few to possess well-preserved native flora and fauna. In particular, the mixed Carpathian forest provides suitable conditions for large mammals such as the European bison (Bison bonasus).

The density of the different areas ranges from vast wild spaces on the Polish side to relatively densely populated areas in the Ukrainian part with cultivated valleys, hay meadows, pastures and deciduous forest. Forestry remains the main local economic activity.

Designation date: 1998
Administrative authorities: Director of the Bieszczady National Park, Director of the Carpathian Landscape Parks in Krosno (Poland), Director of the Poloniny National Park (Slovakia), Director of the Uzhansky National Park and Director of the Nadsyansky Regional Landscape Park (Ukraine).
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 208,076 ha
Core area(s): 30,142 ha
Buffer zone(s): 24,757 ha
Transition area(s): 153,177 ha

48°52’38”N – 49°22’10”N
Longitude: 22°01’48”E – 23°00’35”E
Midpoint: 49°07’16”N – 22°31’16”E

Ecological Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Michael Gäbler
Euopean bison (Bison bonasus)

The Eastern Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is located in Western Bieszczady, the southern part of which is known as Bukovske Hills. Primeval forest fragments in this area have been preserved up to the present day. Large portions of the territory comprise forest and non-forest ecosystems, accompanied by numerous plant communities growing in semi-natural rural areas. Four distinct vegetation types are found within the biosphere reserve: 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 the European brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), the European bison (Bison bonasus), the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and the European wolf (Canis lupus). Over 100 species of birds live in the area including the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).

The reserve also contains several sites appearing on the UNESCO World Heritage List including the Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine, and the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians in Slovakia and Ukraine.


Socio-Economic Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Silar
Traditional Carpathian costumes

Over the last decade decline in population numbers combined with increased migration among young people has resulted in a drop in the average overall population. For example, between 1991 and 2013, the population of ten Slovak villages declined from 3,721 people to 2,424 people.

The majority of economically active inhabitants work in agriculture and forest industry. Agriculture is limited to cattle raising, sheep breeding and small-scale organic farming using traditional land-use patterns. Tourism is developing rapidly especially in the Polish part of the reserve. This has had a significant impact on the types of activities carried out in local communities, with an increase in cultural events tied to old regional traditions, which are attractive to tourists.


> Back to Biosphere Reserves in Poland

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> Back to Biosphere Reserves in Ukraine

Last updated in May 2016

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