Ukrainian women-foresters in Austria

European Wilderness Society continues its engagement in Ukraine and is dedicated to its protected areas, especially to Ukrainian partners of the European Wilderness Network and people. Recently we also managed to employ two Ukrainian women in our head-office inn Austria: Karolina Soliar and Iryna Shchoka. And we are continuously implementing projects, supporting Ukrainians.

Ukrainian women in Austria

The Russian-Ukrainian war caused many rapid changes in lives of Ukrainians. But many Ukrainian women beside support to their country men and women, also trying to continue their professional development in the name of their country´ future.

Due to the joint efforts of the European Wilderness Society, Ukrainian partner NGO “FORZA” and Caritas it was possible to host all three Ukrainian women-foresters with their families in Lungau region. Accommodation at the local families will support better integration of women, available schools will provide opportunities to their children to continue education. 

For the professional development discussion on 30th of March European Wilderness Society organised the meeting with three women foresters from Ukraine in Tamsweg, Austria. The aim of the meeting was to get acquainted with each other, provide overview of the forest sector of Austria, discuss expectations and potential joint activities.

Please also read: Russian-Ukrainian war: What happened to protected areas and ecology

Who are Ukrainian women-foresters?

All three women arrived to Austria from different regions of Ukraine and are working in different fields of the forest sector of Ukraine. 

Iryna Obolonyk arrived from Kharkiv region. Iryna is working for the Ukrainian order “Sign of Honour” Research institute of Forestry and forest melioration named after G.M. Vysotsky. Among her duties at the Institute are editing and issuing of scientific-research forestry journals and communication.

 Iryna Horuzhenko arrived from Poltava region, where she is working at the state forestry enterprise. And she is the reforestation engineer.

The third Ukrainian forester is Nataliya Kurys. Natalia is coming from the Chernihiv region of Ukraine and she is working as a chief economist at the state forestry enterprise.

Forest sector of Lungau region

European Wilderness Society provided introduction to the forestry sector of Austria and particularly of Lungau region. In Austria, unlike Ukraine, a private forest ownership has long-term traditions. Automatization of the forest sector is high, harvesters and cable systems for wood transportation are widely applied. Human work is used mainly on steep slopes. Moreover this work is usually done by men-foreigners. A lot of wood from private owners is exported. But owners have a duty to replant cut tress. Market dictates the price cost. And the issues of the climate change should be considered better.

Natura 2000

One of the main legislative frameworks implemented in EU is the Natura 2000 regulations. This will also be applicable for Ukraine if it joins EU in future. For the moment Ukraine joint formation of the Emerald Network.

Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas in the territory of the European Union. It consists of Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas designated under the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive.

Expectations and future plans

As Ukrainian women-foresters are dealing with different duties in the forestry sector, their professional interests are various. Among them are:

  • forest planting in Austria
  • climate change mitigation measures
  • forest protection
  • wood harvesting practices
  • calculation of the cost price for wood-processing products.

Beside that, women will start free of charge German courses soon, which will give them a possibility to communicate with their Austrian colleagues more efficiently. 

Based on the needs assessment and available resources, European Wilderness Society will continue preparation of the further educational activities for Ukrainian women-foresters.

Beside that, we are also preparing for podcast with Ukrainian women to introduce them and their working experience wider.

We have noticed that in this region there are a lot of conifer forests and some of them are dry. Therefore, I would be interested to learn more about climate change mitigation measures in Austria. I would also be interested to share acquired knowledge with my colleagues in Ukraine.

states Iryna Obolonyk,
Ukrainian researcher

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