Gorgany Nature Reserve, Ukraine confirmed its commitment to become a next member of the European Wilderness Network.

Gorgany Nature Reserve is situated in the Western part of Ukraine in the central part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains.   The total area of Gorgany Nature Reserve is 5 344,8 ha and the access to Gorgany Wilderness is difficult because of remoteness, extremely steep slopes and large scree areas covering mountain slopes.

The area is located within the range from 710 m a.s.l. up to the mountain tops: Dovbushanka Mt. (1754 m), Medvezhek (1736 m), Polyenskyi (1693 m), Pikun (1651 m), Koziy Gorgan (1616 m), Upper Rocks (1596 m), Babyn Pohar (1478 m), Lower Rocks (1300 m), which stretches from the north-west to the south-east. They are characterized by steep unsymmetrical slopes and sharp mountain ridges with stone (screes) on tops (localy named “gorgany”).

Gorgany Nature Reserve was established by the Decree of President of Ukraine on September 12, 1996  with objective to preserve the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes typical and unique natural complexes, rare primeval forests, in particular those with Swiss pine (Pinus cembra) which have important scientific, environmental and aesthetic value.

The Gorgany Nature Reserve contains very rare old growth Swiss pine forest. The unique feature of the reserve is revealed through the fact that the most part of it is preserved in an undisturbed and almost pristine state. Peculiar and diverse landscape forms supported rich species composition, with many rare, relict or endemic  species.

The forest vegetation dominates at the reserve and covers around 85 % of the Gorgany Nature Reserve surface. The area is famous due to gigantic specimens of beech, fir and spruce. Inventory proved that  the biggest tress of the whole Ukrainian Carpathians can be found here.  The biggest trees of these species in the primeval forests reach 53 m in height and over 160 cm in diameter. As for the Swiss pine, it is 34 m high and 108 cm in diameter.

Flora of vascular plants in the Gorgany Nature Reserve includes ca 460 species, including 72 species of rare plants and 35 species of plants listed in the National Red Book of Ukraine. Over 1500 species of vertebrate and invertebrate are registered within the reserve and on the adjacent areas. 50 of them are listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.

A wild, majestic primeval forests has no signs of human intervention, with many dead standing and/or lying wood on the ground. Lying dead trees are often covered with moss carpet. This landscape is deeply impressing one’s imagination, and a man can enjoy the harmony of the primordial wilderness chaos.

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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