EAST CARPATHIANS BIOSPHERE RESERVE
Year of designation:
- 10 November 1992 – bilateral, Polish-Slovak “East Carpathians/East Beskid” Biosphere Reserve (certification 15 February 1993)
- 11 December 1998 – trilateral Polish-Slovak-Ukrainian “East Carpathians” Biosphere Reserve (certification 2 February 1999)
Total area: 40 689, 92 ha
East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is situated in easternmost Slovakia at the junction of the political boundaries of three European countries – Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Complex protection of the landscape dates from 1977, when the Eastern Carpathians Protected Landscape area (hereafter PLA) was established covering 96 910 ha. In 1997 protected area of PLA was splited into two parts. In the more valuable eastern part, the Poloniny National Park was established on the area of 29 805 hectares with buffer zone covers 10 973 hectares. The area of present PLA “”Eastern Carpathians” covers additional territory outside the National Park Poloniny further to the west. The site became part of the Network of Biosphere Reserve in two stages, with the Slovak and Polish side being designated in 1993, joined by the Ukrainian in 1998. It has been the first trilateral biosphere reserve in the world. The area of the Slovak part of BR overlaps with territory of the National Park (hereafter NP) Poloniny. On June 28, 2007, the Primeval Beech Forests of Carpathians, located in Slovak part of BR were inscribed, as transboundary serial nomination (Ukraine/Slovakia), on the UNESCO‘s World Heritage List.
The location of the BR at the junction of the East and West Carpathians is mirrored by a unique range of fauna and flora species and communities. The well-preserved vegetation-beech forests, cut meadows, pastures, and special mountain meadows “poloninas” – predetermines the natural diversity of biocenoses. The BR confronts a range of challenges that can be categorized as legislative or model of area management. The BR and NP are managed by the Administration of the Poloniny NP situated in the village Stakčín. The most valuable habitats are designated as national natural reserves and nature reserves. The rest of the BR (NP) is open for forest harvesting, agriculture, water management and hunting. The park manages only mentioned strictly protected parts directly. Other land and natural supplies as forest, agricultural areas and water sources are managed by the various management bodies. In 2010 the Poloniny Dark-Sky Park was officially proclaimed on the territory of the Slovak part of East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve. The park is Slovakia’s darkest site, where the night sky is preserved in its natural appearance.
The unique potential of territory which was awarded by many certificates and marks produce economic benefits for local community only to a certain extent. Despite large numbers of natural values, local people perceive nature protection as constraints on development that do not provide adequate alternatives to local entrepreneurship. Forests cover more than 90 % of the BR and more than half of the forests of the BR are in private. Forestry is the dominant economic activity and primarily providing opportunities for low-skilled jobs. Development of strategic approaches to tourism could become a unifying interest, providing grounds for dialogue and partnership building. It is clear that structural responses in building proper institutional structures, sufficient resource base for policy implementation, research, and further development of participatory approaches to decision – making and governance are needed for the park to become driving force in addressing the challenges it face.
Research is conducted by scientists from both the Administration of the NP and particularly, several scientific institutes from Slovak Republic and Czech Republic. The inventory of flora and fauna is an essential part of this research. A basic survey of the floristic and phyto sociology of the entire NP and BR has been completed, and investigations of fungi, avifauna, and selected invertebrate taxa are continuing. Important forestry research has alsso bee undertaken. Agricultural research projects have focused on the assessment of ecologically appropriate practices and the maintenance and restoration of landscapes characteristic of traditional use. There are several climatic and hydric stations of the Slovak Hydrometeorollogical Institue in the NP a BR. Administration of the NP provide environment education in schools.