Gorgany Nature Reserve
Location: Ukraine, Ivano-Frankivskyy region, Nadvirna district Founded in 1996 Area - 5,344.6 ha

Gorgany Nature Reserve is a classic example for the authentic untouched nature of the Ukrainian Carpathians. Gorgany is the “spirit of the Carpathians”, steeped in legends and myths. It is the only protected area within the Ukrainian Carpathians that was categorized as “Strict Nature Reserve” (categroy Ia) by IUCN, and one of the most important locations of primeval forests in the whole Carpathian Mountains. In this reserve, 67.5 per cent of the area is still covered by primeval forest, which is highly stable and resistant. Apart from conservation measures, scientific research and environmental studies are conducted in Gorgany.

The landscape is dominated by forest (91.3 per cent of the total area). 6.4 per cent is covered by large rocks that are mainly located in the upper parts of the slopes and on the crests of ridges. Meadow vegetation accounts for 1.3 per cent of the area, rivers and streams add up to 0.3 per cent.

Gorgany hosts a primeval forest stand of Swiss pine (Pinus cembra), a relict species from the early Holocene period. This kind of forest is unique on the European as well as on the global level and therefore of high conservation value. Furthermore, primeval and old-growth forest characterized by beech, fir and spruce can be found in the reserve. The area features many “gregots”, a rare type of habitat where scattered trees grow among large rocks that are covered with mosses and lichens. One of the most stable post-glacial settlements of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and dark-bark birch Betula obscura still remain in these rockbeds.

The reserve contains a belt of five sub-formations of primeval forest. They demonstrate the development stages of pristine vegetation from the early Holocene until today. The Gorgany mountain range is also famous for its arboreal flora and cleavages in the bedrock. They are of great scientific interest in terms of investigating the history of vegetation cover in the post-glacial period. In addition, the effects of climate change on natural dynamic processes in mountain and highland ecosystems are studied in the reserve.

1,743 species of higher and lower plants and fungi were already discovered in Gorgany. 40 of these species (35 higher plants and 5 fungi) as well as 2 types of lichens are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. The fauna is comprised by 210 vertebrate and 1,084 invertebrate species. 55 of them can be found in The Red Book of Ukraine.

All information was provided by the administration of Gorgany Nature Reserve. For more details please visit http://www.gorgany.if.ua/

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