Scientific ecological assessment of the Svydovets Massif, Ukrainian Carpathians

We are sure that you are already aware of the plans to build a huge ski resort ecological in an important valuable part of theUkrainian Carpathians, more specifically the north-central part of the Svydovetsky Massif and the adjacent upper Chorna Tisa river basin.

European Wilderness Society already published information about the Ukrainian court decision to stop the planning process of the mega ski resort on the Svydovetsky massif temporarily due to the efforts of activists of FREE SVYDOVETS with and increasing international support.

Letter to the Ministry of Ecology of Ukraine

Recently the FREE SVYDOVETS initiative group submitted a letter, which was also signed by the European Wilderness Society, to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural resources of Ukraine. The letter contained a scientific assessment of the ecological value of the area and also requests to:

  1. Support the creation of a new and/or enlargement of the existing protected areas in the basin of the river Tysa and highlands of the mountain massif Svydovets
  2. Not approve the change of the designation of the land of state forest unit «Yasinyanske LMG» (part of this Massif)
  3. Support the approximation of the Ukrainian environmental legislation to the EU legislation, particularly by initiating voting in Verhovna Rada for draft of the Law of Ukraine “About strategic ecological assessment”.

Home to many endangered species

A group of  Ukrainian scientists from the Institute of Ecology of the Carpathians NASU, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Ivan Franko National University of Lviv prepared an scientific  ecological assessment of the Svydovets massif.

This area is characterized by unique low-disturbed high-mountain glacial landscapes, valuable hydrological objects, old-grown and virgin forests of high conservation value, habitats and populations of dozens of threatened plant and animal species. The Red Data Book of the Ukraine identifies

  • 42 rare and threatened species of vascular plants,
  • 14 – invertebrates,
  • 4 – amphibians,
  • 19 – birds,
  • 14 – mammals as being threatened.

The high-mountain zone of the Svydovets Massif is exceptionally significant for biodiversity conservation in the Carpathians as one of the most important refuges of the relic boreal-alpine and endemic Carpathian biota.

Threat of contamination of the Chorna Tisa river basin

The construction and the operation of the planned mega ski resort would  lead to destruction of the natural ecosystems and landscapes of the whole Svydovets mountain range as well as deterioration of hydrological regime and contamination of the upper Chorna Tisa river basin. It will pose the threat of devastation to ecosystems of the unique glacial mountain lakes, mires and rocks, riverine and subalpine forests, habitats and populations of many rare plants and animals protected in Ukraine and in the European Union.

Creation of the Central Svydovets Massif” Nature Protected Area

IN Austria the plan to develop hydropower plans across the whole alps was the starting point of the creation of the largest Austrian National Park Hohe Tauern. The idea to build a mega ski resort in the Ukrainian Carpathians could be the trigger to establish the “Central Svydovets Massif” Nature Protected Area of national importance which would protect the natural environment and biodiversity on the planned for future generations.

On 7 of February, 2018 the Scientific council of the Institute of Ecology of the Carpathians made the decision to submit an official request to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural resources of Ukraine regarding creation of the Protected Areas on the territory of Massif Svydovets.

European Wilderness Society involvement

The European Wilderness Society continuing keeping an eye on this issue and communicating with relevant activists and scientists and, besides, our wilderness experts are already planning to visit this area in the recent year.

Scientific ecological assessment of the Svydovets Massif

The full report with substantiation in Ukrainian and the summary in English are available here. The  original version was published on www.researchgate.net.

Iryna Shchoka

Iryna Shchoka is a regional development expert and is based in Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

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