Skolivski Beskydy

The mountainous terrain of the Skolivski Beskydy National Nature Park (NNP) comprises some 883 hectares of ancient beech and beech-fir forests. Amongst the area’s highly diverse wildlife are many rare and endangered species, including 40 plant and 63 animal species listed in the Red Book of Ukraine.

Another enigmatic inhabitant of the Skolivski Beskydy NNP is the European bison. In 2009, six European bison were introduced to the park from the German city of Gera and a year later another five were introduced from the Bavarian Forest National Park. The initiative was carried out as part of the European bison subpopulation restoration program in the Skolivski Beskydy NNP. The program has been highly successful, and at the last count heard numbers in the park had reached 42 individuals.

Park area 243,69 Sq km.

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Additionally, Skolivski Beskydy NNP now boasts 146 km of visitor trails complemented by access to 27 natural springs. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Lviv region and the stunning high-altitude Zhuravlyne lake. They can also explore the rich history of the ancient cities of Tustan and Skole, and visit the 11th Century tomb of a warrior prince, a 16th Century wooden temple, and the baroque-style Palace of the Barons of Gredl.

Cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society

Overcoming the challenges caused by war. Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Skolivski Beskydy National Nature Park has provided shelter for internally displaced persons. It was a difficult task for the park to adapt to become a refuge center: FZS offered support in preparing accommodation for a significant number of people seeking refuge from the effects of the war. This included the installation of bathrooms and the provision of beds, cooking and kitchen equipment, washing machines, and water heaters. 

Supported by partners in Romania, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia, FZS provided essential items including medicines, warm clothes, hygiene products, and food supplies. The organization also provided ongoing supplies of food and hygiene products for displaced people residing in the reserve’s temporary housing and those residing in surrounding communities. 

In order to ensure operations can continue in the event of a power outage, FZS also purchased and provided two powerful generators and fuel to allow the park’s administration teams to continue their essential work without interruption.

Construction and reconstruction. Another important area of collaboration involving specialists from FZS and the NNP involves the refurbishment and reconstruction of the baroque palace of Baron Gredl in Skole. The palace premises are under long-term lease of the Skolivski Beskydy NNP and are expected to become a center of eco-education and a big draw for visitors to the Skolivski Carpathians. In addition to the NNP office, the building will house an eco-educational visitor center, a restaurant, and guest rooms.

If needed the palace will also be able to function as a shelter. In early 2022, as in many other Carpathian parks, the palace building became a temporary shelter for people fleeing the effects of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The building is not currently fit for long-term living, and during summer 2022 displaced people found more suitable accommodation. Consequently, FZS and the park’s management team agreed to carry out repairs and improve conditions at the palace in case there is a need to accommodate people there again. Preparatory repair work began in September 2023 and renovations are currently underway. As of November 2023, the rafter systems have been repaired. Around 400,000 euro has been allocated to carry out this work, thanks to a donation from a private benefactor via the FZS.

Currently, specialists are finalizing the design and obtaining renovation cost estimates for the palace’s left wing, which consists of three 400 m² floors and a basement. Work on the left wing will commence upon the completion of the roof renovations. Work has been complicated by long-term roof leakage, which has led to significant damage to the walls and necessitating the replacement of floors in some places. Original ceramic tiles will be used to renovate the roof.

FZS also aims to secure further funding to enable the repair of the heating system, to cover the roof, dry the building and safeguard this unique piece of cultural heritage from mold and other problems. 

Cooperation with communities and support of nature-friendly business. As part of the implementation of the “Preservation of high-value virgin forests and ancient forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians” project, FZS is supporting the establishment of a project that aims to establish the collection and sale of herbs and berries in the territory of the Skolivski Beskydy NNP.

Support for creating management plans. FZS aims to conserve wildlife and ecosystems, focusing on protected areas and outstanding wild places. FZS supports the Skolivski Beskydy NNP in carrying out its main conservation tasks.

As part of the implementation of the project “Conservation of highly valuable primeval and old-growth forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians”, joint development of the organization of the territory to manage conservation efforts is being carried out. This consists of several stages:

  • The assessment of the biological, ecological, sociological and cultural values and resources of the park and their condition, threats, and impact. 
  • The definition of a 10-year conservation strategy. 
  • The development of a five-year action plan to achieve maximum results in preserving the condition of high conservation value aspects of the park. 

The development of the territory organization project is carried out by a team of FZS experts, specialists working for the NNP, and a group of local stakeholders who are connected to the park’s activities, use the territory, and have an influence on decision-making regarding the park’s activities. The term of development of the territory organization project lasts from October 2022 to June 2024.

Expansion and consolidation of nature conservation areas. Since 2013, FZS has supported and contributed to efforts to expand the Skolivski Beskydy NNP. Initially, the priority is to ensure that lands within the park are designated areas of permanent conservation – including areas that are currently under state management such as the Skolivski Military Forest Farm. It is proposed to transfer land with an area of 9,800 hectares to permanent conservation status, as well as to expand the territory to include 10 hectares of land currently managed by Skolivska City Council Vorokhtyan Forest Farm. This proposal is crucial because the Skolivski Military Forest Farm is located in the central part of Skolivski Beskydy NNP and divides the park into two parts. In the state-managed parts, extremely intensive logging is carried out on a continuous basis. Therefore, park authorities do not have the power to enforce regulations, threatening habitats and the park’s wider ecosystem. 

Biodiversity monitoring. To qualitatively monitor the state of biodiversity in the Skolivski Beskydy NNP, FZS utilizes the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) system.  The system helps to collect, measure, and evaluate biodiversity data effectively and efficiently. Smartphones and other necessary equipment were purchased and provided to park security personnel. Additionally, training and ongoing user support is provided. Acoustic receivers have been deployed to collect data on birds and bats, enabling species identification and population estimates. Since 2021, camera traps have been used to monitor large predators.

Operating cost support. Due to constraints on state funding as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, FZS has been providing ongoing financial support for the implementation of the conservation plan in the park since May 2022. This assistance includes procuring office space, communications support, fuel expenses, maintenance and repair costs for vehicles, and electrical and computer equipment purchases.

Improving the ability to perform environmental protection tasks. As part of the “Conservation of highly valuable primeval and old-growth forests in selected national parks in the Ukrainian Carpathians, of which FZS is the main partner, vehicles and uniforms for security personnel were purchased and provided, as well as computer and IT equipment for park employees.

What do we do

By combining international experience with local knowledge and expertise, we support the preservation of the large areas of pristine and near-pristine nature in Ukraine. We mainly do this by supporting projects in major protected areas such as national parks, biosphere reserves, and large nature reserves.