Conservation of highly valuable primeval and old-growth forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians
As of: March 2021
The natural forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians are strongholds for primeval and old-growth forests in Europe but face immense pressure from large scale logging. The project supports the expansion of five existing protected areas, which will provide additional protection for about 44,119 hectares of additional high conservation-value forest. To ensure effective protection, the five protected areas will be provided with modern equipment, training and technical assistance such as the development of modern biodiversity monitoring systems and management plans. Communities will benefit from community development plans and financing, direct support for nature-friendly small businesses and a large-scale environmental information campaign aimed at reaching approximately 64.200 people in 49 villages.
State of implementation/results
Expansion of National Parks or Protected Areas:
- The justification documents and maps to support the increased coverage of protected areas (PA’s) for valuable forests are under development.
- Currently, most of the PA’s supported by the project do not have full control over their territories. Although these territories have been designated as national or regional parks, permanent usage rights for large areas within these territories remain in the hands of forestry enterprises, in extreme cases as much as 76%. This effectively means that the park management have no power to prevent unsustainable forestry practices happening within their borders. To address this, the project has prioritized the pursuit of the transfer of permanent usage rights for all land within a PA territory to the PA authority itself.
Improved Biodiversity Monitoring:
- Scientific monitoring in the protected areas is to be improved and expanded. For this purpose a concept is being developed.
- A Ukrainian-international team will work together to implement and supervise the new monitoring program.
- The Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) is being piloted as the technical platform for data collection and storage.
Capacity building and training for park authorities:
- Even in the long-established PA’s in the project, staff lack basic equipment and training required to conduct wildlife monitoring according to international standards or effectively protect the area in accordance with the law. Currently the project team is taking stock of the rangers' existing equipment and capacities in order to decide on the most efficient use of project resources.
Community engagement and environmental education:
- The project team is currently developing a study on the environmental awareness of residents in the vicinity of the protected areas. Based on the results of this survey, tailor-made campaigns and educational programmes will be developed to address knowledge gaps and false beliefs, with the ultimate objective of improving understanding, acceptance, appreciation and a feeling of ownership for the PA’s.