Identification and protection of old-growth and virgin forests in the Ukrainian Carpathians

In contrast to other mountain regions of Europe where forests were intensively exploited, relatively large patches of virgin and old-growth forests (OGF) still exist in Ukrainian Carpathians. Their importance was recognized internationally by including them to the list of World Natural Heritage of UNESCO together with Slovakian and German beech forests. However, big shares of these OGF, which serve as large carbon sinks and possess a wide range of genetic diversity, are located outside existing protected areas and, therefore, can be an object of both legal and illegal timber harvesting boosted by economic decline of last years in Ukraine.


Project’s objectives are to update available information on old-growth forests (OGF) in Ukrainian Carpathians by preparation and carrying out the field studies, according to the criteria determined by Carpathian Convention. Further analysis of gained information and its dissemination of obtained results among target groups which embrace state and local level authorities, rural communities, environmentally oriented NGOs, research institutions, universities, and media will support advocacy work in order to foster better protection of identified OGF. Inform Ukrainian public about OGF, their role in ecosystems and how to contribute to their protecting them by means of up-to-date monitoring tool might force decision makers to pay attention on the problem of forest preservation in Ukraine. Project activities include desk work on OGF database, field campaign, dissemination of gained information, lobbing of legislation change, developing tools for forest harvesting and protection monitoring. On completion of the project we expect complete geo-database of OGF remnants in Ukrainian Carpathians along with increased awareness of people on it.


Partner in the project is the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme.

The project is financed by the German Environment Agency (UBA).

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Project coordination: Uli Gräbener, uli.graebener(at)