Conservation of highly valuable primeval and old-growth forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians

The Ukrainian Carpathians are strongholds for primeval and old-growth forests in Europe, but face pressure from large scale logging. Protected areas (PAs) in these forests now also face an acute existential threat as government funding has all but ceased as a result of the economic pressures stemming from the Russian invasion. To ensure effective protection, the project provides a life-line, temporarily ensuring the essential operational needs of the PAs are met on a monthly basis. In the longer term, 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. Nature conservation of primeval forests will also contribute to dealing with emotional consequences of war for Ukrainians.

Project data

IKI funding
3,980,304.87 €
07/2019 till 06/2025
Implementing organisation
Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt von 1858 e.V (ZGF)
Political Partner
  • Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources - Ukraine
  • State Forestry Agency of Ukraine (SFAU)

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 were submitted to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources shortly before the intensification of the war with Russia in late February 2022.
    Increased effectiveness of protected areas
    • Full summer and winter uniforms have been delivered to five of the project parks.
    • IT and field equipment including computers, camera traps, audio-acoustic recorders and rugged smartphones for field work have been delivered to four project parks.
    • Training on ecological monitoring was held jointly and individually in all four protected areas
    Improved Biodiversity Monitoring:
    • A population density assessment of the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) of Skolivsky Beskydy using a large-scale camera trapping survey has been completed
    • In the summer of 2021, additional camera trap studies could be conducted to determine ungulate and bat populations, in four protected areas.
    • Camera trap monitoring as well as training measures for data evaluation were extended to eight additional protected areas.
    • Monitoring of songbirds using mobile acoustic recorders was introduced in four protected areas in the Carpathians. This is an extension of the methodology used in the pan-European songbird monitoring, applied for the first time in Ukraine.
    • Bat monitoring was carried out in five protected areas using ultrasound equipment.
    Community development:
    • As part of the participatory development of modern management plans for five protected areas, the key stakeholder groups of each protected area were recorded. Community development strategies for five communities were completed.
    Conservation Enterprises:
    • Business plans of five enterprises have been finalised. Three of the enterprises are engaged in the sustainable production of local food, while two others are active in the field of eco-tourism. The construction of the necessary means of production or infrastructure is underway.
    Maintaining the functioning of the protected areas during the war:
    • Since Q2 2023, 13 protected areas have been directly supported by the project with funds that keep the areas operating despite the loss of government funding. The funds procured and transferred to the protected areas mainly include fuel, office supplies, as well as various consumables for protected area monitoring, environmental education activities and minor maintenance of key infrastructure.
    Community engagement and environmental education:
    • A comprehensive environmental awareness survey was conducted in the vicinity of project protected areas. This resulted in a better understanding of environmental knowledge gaps and opinions in the area.
    • A photo contest focusing on the natural beauty of the Ukrainian Carpathians was held and a selection of the best photos will be shown at the Carpathian International Mountain Film Festival.
    • New information brochures were developed for each protected area, explaining the points of interest and the zoning concept of each park.

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