||The International Biosphere Reserve includes the following areas: in Poland – the Bieszczady National Park (27,064 ha) and two adjacent landscape parks to the west (46,025 ha), and the Sian Valley Landscape Park (35,835 ha) to the north; in Slovakia – the proposed East Carpathian Protected Landscape Area (40,601 ha), and in Ukraine – the Stuzhytsia Landscape Park and Nadsiansky Park together with a protection zone (c.14,665 ha). Polish-Slovakian part was accepted by UNESCO at the end of 1992, the Ukrainian part in 1994.
Some facts about the Reserve:
- it is the only MAB Biosphere Reserve to protect Europe’s largest beech forest stands as well as eastern Carpathian mountain pastures (poloniny).
- the Reserve covers territories with very low population, from 5 to 20 persons per square km, human influence on biocenoses and abiotic environment is thus negligible; at present the vegetation is only slightly changed by management.
- natural vegetation (forests and non-forests) is dominant over extensive areas, in which vegetation endemic to the Eastern Carpathians can be encountered, along with endemic species of plants and animals and many species protected by law.
- the Reserve covers one of the largest areas in Europe for large forest animals, such as brown bear Ursus arctos, bison Bison bonasus, deer Cervus elaphus, lynx Lynx lynx and wildcat Felis silvestris. The Reserve also protects gene pool of rare bird species facing extinction, and of such domesticated animals as East Carpathian pony Equus caballus huculenis, a local attraction.
- the Biosphere Reserve protects folklore and religious monuments, such as old wooden Orthodox and Catholic churches, roadside chapels and figures, relics of regional peasant architecture, etc. The Reserve thus contributes to the protection of the cultural heritage of the Eastern Carpathians, which is part of the cultural heritage of Europe.
- Traditional agriculture and shepherding is still preserved in this region. Land use, particularly the raising of sheep, will be continued on lower slopes, whilst the highest peaks will be strictly protected. Thus there is a possibility to delimit all functional zones recommended by MAB for a typical biosphere reserve.
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