Hiking the Kremenec
Stužica Virgin Forest
Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
"Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries to
promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development based on local
community efforts and sound science... Biosphere reserves are nominated by
national governments for international recognition under UNESCO's Mand and the
Biosphere (MAB) Programme." www.unesco.org
The following material is excerpts from tourist brochures from the Biosphere
Reserve. They were collected in 2006 by Michael Habler.
East Carpathian Biosphere
Cestovny ruch a Turistka -
Lud a Kultura - Local Culture
Polnohospodarstvo - Agriculture
Lesne Hospodarstvo - Forest Lands
Neziva Priroda - Mineral Springs
Zivocisstvo - Zoology
Rastlinstvo - Botany
View of the reserve from Slovakia
This reserve which covers a border shared by Slovakia,
Poland and Ukraine, is formed by the combination of three national parks.
The spot where these three nations meet is called Kremenec and can be reached
only by foot. It is the only extant designated trilateral biosphere
reserve in Europe.
Bukovske Vrchy Natural Reserve
Bieszczady National Park
Národný Park POLONINY
(Poloniny National Park)
|Uzhanski National Nature Park
39, 159 Hectares
Table: The Three Parts of the Reserve
Krajinna Oblast, Biospherika Rezervacia VYCHODNE KARPATY - East Carpathian
Ing. Terray Jan, Steve Schipe,
Foto: Pcola Stefan
The Vychodne Karpaty Protected Landscape Area was established in 1977.
The most valuable part of this area forms the basis of the Vychodne Karpaty
Biosphere Reserve. It was created in 1993 and covers an area of 40,061
hectares. Together with areas across the border in Poland and Ukraine,
a unique tri-national Biosphere Reserve was created.
The Bukovske vrchy hills,
in which the biosphere is located, are built of flysch rocks, sandstone, and
The average annual
temperatures vary from 4-8 C and the average annual precipitation varies from
800 to 1000 mm.
phytogeographic standpoint, the territory belongs to the East Carpathian
floral region. So far, approximately 1000 species of higher plants
have been recorded here, including 14 species endemic to the Carpathians and
14 Balkan-Eastern Carpathian species.
To the present day, 457
species of mushrooms, 208 lichens and 300 mosses have been identified in the
Reserve. Of special value to the territory are the rare virgin forest
communities of beech and mixed fir and beech.
More than 1500 species of
invertebrates have been recorded here, as have 292 species of vertebrates – of
which 184 species are protected. Typical residents of the forests of the
Biosphere Reserve are the wolf, European brown bear and Ural owl.
Settlement in the area
was greatly influenced by the Walachian Colonization. Dating from the 18th
century are several rare, sacred buildings – wooden churches in
Ulicske Krive, Rusky Potok and
Economic life is, for the
most part, tied to forestry and agricultural work.
ruch a Turistka - Tourist Routes
Ing. Terray Jan, Steve Shipe, Foto: Pcola
The district of Humenne
offers relatively good conditions for the development of recreation and tourism.
Worth of mention are the Andrassi Manor-house in Humenne, the Rollov Manor-house
in Snina, the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce and the museum of Folk Architecture in Humenne.
Sporting, tourism and other activities are to be found at the recreation
centers of Danova and Snina
rybnik (pools.) Winter sports activities are available at Danova, Borov, and
The Vychodne Karpaty
Biosphere Reserve offers a 40,601 hectare complex of natural landscape and
Statue of Hercules at the Manor House in
Wooden Church ("Cirkev") at Topola
Eastern Orthodox wooden
churches are located in the villages of Ulicske Krive,
Rusky Potok and Topola.
The water reservoir
Starina, which provides a source of drinking water, is a large technical work.
The main type of
recreation in the Biosphere Reserve is active recreation-walking the trails in
The point of entry for
recreation and tourism in the Vychodne Karpaty Biosphere Reserve is the town of
Snina and its environs where accommodations, food and other services are
3. Lud a
Kultura - Local Culture
Ing. Bural Miroslav,
Ing. Terray Jan, Steve Shipe
Foto: Pcola Stefan
The origins of permanent
settlement of the Biosphere Reserve began sometime in the 15th and 16th
centuries with the advent of the Walachian Colonization which had a major
influence on the original inhabitants, the Ruthenians. The major occupation of
the inhabitants was shepherding and farming. The Eastern Slavic ethnic group,
to which the Ruthenians belong, had their ethnic identify reflected in their
architecture. Houses were wood, “log cabins.” The oldest consisting only of
one room, were divided into more rooms. Roofs were straw. In other farm
buildings, (barns, stables, etc.) was typically found a hayloft, “oboroh.” The
most valuable architectural landmarks are the wooden churches, “cerkiv”, with
rare iconographic decorations in the interiors. In the Biosphere today, four
“wooden churches can be found. At the present time there are ten villages in
the Biosphere Reserve. Seven more were removed during the 1970’s and 1890’s as
a result of the construction of the water Reservoir Starina.
Polnohospodarstvo - Agriculture
Ing. Platko Juraj, Ing.
Terray Jan, Steve Shipe, Foto: Pcola Stefan
Agricultural lands in the Vychodne Karpaty Biosphere Reserve consist of 6840,2 hectares, 15.6% of the
total area. They vary in elevation from 250 meters to 550 meters, with the main
parts belonging to the mountain production areas. Soil creating processes gave
rise, for the most part, to cambisols. Soil reactivity varies from acidic to
very acidic. The structure of the agricultural lands are mostly represented by
permanent grasslands, of which 1505 hectares are meadows and 3816 hectares are
pastures. Arable land only accounts for 851 hectares.
In the past the economy
consisted of raising farm animals and the production of fodder, primarily hay.
It was divided into a two part system. One part of the area around the village
was dedicated to the production of grains (caryna), the second to grazing (toloka.)
After a year the land laid fallow.
At the present time in
the area of the Biosphere Reserve, there are two economic enterprises. The
first, LPM Ulic, is responsible for the economic management of the major portion
of the agricultural lands in the Reserve. State farm SM Stakcin is responsible
for the lands in the vicinity of the water reservoir Starina, seven villages
were removed. As a result, these lands have taken on the character of
permanent grasslands. Work on these lands is now limited because they lie
within the so-called Hygenic Zone which surrounds Starina. All of the
agricultural lands in the Biosphere reserve are within the Transition Zone (Zone
The small fields and
meadows in proximity to the villages reflect the original character of the
Hospodarstvo - Forest Lands
Ing. Gic Marian, Ing.
Piros Milan, Ing. Terray Jan
Foto: Pcola, Stefan
Forests cover 32,183
hectares, (approximately 79,661 acres) of the Biosphere Reserve. This is just
over 79% of the total
area of the Reserve (40,601 hectares). They occur from
the lowest to the highest elevations.
The dominant tree species
is beech (Fagus sylvatica). Other common species (silver fir, sycamore, Norway
maple, oak, elm, etc.) do not account for any significant percentage of forest
Although the management of the forests has intensified over the past twenty years (including
clear-cutting as a tool for forest regeneration), stands in this area are still
among the most pristine in Slovakia.
Some of them are protected as state nature reserves (Stuzica, Rozok,
Priroda - Mineral Springs
Ladislav CSc., Ing. Terray Jan, Steve Shipe, Foto: Pcola, Stefan
The territory of the
Biosphere Reserve forms in the easternmost part of the Eastern Carpathians in
Slovakia, the Bukovske vrchy hills. These have a highland of 1221 meters. The entire area of the Biosphere Reserve is built of flysch
rocks. The territory belongs in large part to the cool climate. Soils are
represented for the most part by unsaturated
cambisols and also by inceptisols.
In flood-plains are the fluvisols. The calcareous areas of the flysch territory
are represented with rendzinas. The primary occurrence of groundwater is
associated with the layers and crevices in the flysch strata. They yield from
0.5 to 2 liters/second. Greater yields are associated with the riverine plands
– 10l/s, and in the areas associated with the products of weathering- 4l/s. The
Vichodne Karapty Biosphere Reserve
belongs to the Bodfog river watershed. The northern part of territory forms at
the same time part of the European
divide. The area of the east Slovakian flysch is mostly impervious with a
shallow circulation of groundwater. A relatively large percentage of rainfall
is discharged about 50 percent. Rainwater quickly runs off, with high flow
rates this leads to flooding, when low runoff the drying up of streambeds. Much
water is present as a result of the spring snowmelt, as also after heavy, short-term downpours. The maximum flow rates
attained in the last 100 years reached 230 cubic
meters per second on the Cirocha river near Starina and 167 cubic
meters/second on the Ulicka stream at Ulic. The water quality in the
territory is high. As a result, the resource is used to supply drinking water –
begin in 1987 with the completion of the water reservoir Starina.
Sponsors, Pre-Chicko BR
Vychodne Karpaty za financial podpory USIS, Peace Crops,and REC
omitologicky spolok Snina
Pcola Stevan, Ing., Terray
Jan, Steve Shipe, Foto: Pcola Stefan, Jindro Vlach
From the zoogeographic standpoint, the
territory of the Vychodne Karpaty Protected Landscape Area and
the Biosphere Reserve is located in the Paleoartic biome, on the boundary between the western and eastern Carpathians. More
than 1500 species of invertebrates have 504 species of butterflies and 572
beetles. Furthermore, 292 species of vertebrates occur here. Included are: 1
lamprey, 19 fish, 13 amphibians, 8 reptiles, 192 birds and 53 mammals. Protected species account for more than 30 species of invertebrates
and 184 vertebrates. Most of the protected specimens are birds.
Of special importance to
science and for protection purposes are the specimens which are endemic to the
Eastern Carpathians. For the most part, invertebrate species are associated
with deciduous forest biotypes. Some bird and mammal species live only in these original communities. The
main goal of nature protection specialists is to provide effective management for individual species to secure the the protection of the biotypes
in which these animal species naturally occur.
Ing. Bural Miroslav,
Ing. Terray Jan, Steve Shipe, Foto: Pcola Stefan
The Bukovske vrchy hills in which the Slovak part of the Vychodne Karpaty
International Biosphere Reserve is located, is only area which belongs solely to
the geo-botanical domain of the Eastern Carpathians. The East Carpathian
nature of the flora is fairly distinct and is relatively rich. In an area
of about 500 square kilometers, approximately 1000 species of vascular
plants have been recorded. Of these, 22 taxa are considered critically
endangered, 33 very endangered, 52 endangered and 22 rare to Slovakia.
Sixty plant communities
have so far been identified in the Bukovske vrchy hills of which 36 are common
(e.g., Alnetum incanae, Luario-Aceretum, etc.) Some are endemic to the
Carpathians. Quite a few plant-communities have their westernmost
boundaries here (e.g., Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum ranuculetosum carpaticu,
Helbro-Coryletum, Matteucio-Alnetum incanae.)
In order to protect
typical forest communities, eight state nature reserves (SPR) and three protection units have been established. Their total area
covers 1365.05 hectares. State reserves protect mainly beech, mixed beech-fir
and sycamore forests (Fagion and Tilio-Acerion) as communities of the Prunetalia
division. The situation is worse in the protection of Priulo veris-Carpinetum,
Tilio-Carpetum forests and brushwood communities typical of river alluvia.
Strict reserves also cover
the areas of the most precious mountain swards, peat-bogs and grasslands (e.g.,
Cirsietum rivularis, Junco-Deschampsietum caespitoosae, Anthoxantho-Agrostietum
tenuis.) It is planned to create new reserves for the protection of
stenothermal plant communities (e.g., Prunello lacinietae-Dorycniethum herbacel)
and communities associated with riverbanks (e.g., Echio-Melilotetum albae.)
The entire area of the
Polonina - the unique mountain grasslands characteristic of the Eastern
Carpathians, is covered by state nature reserves (Plasa, Riaba Skala and
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Last Update: 04 September 2006