Work with communities

One of the priorities of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is to promote the sustainability and long-term preservation of natural environments. To ensure nature conservation actions have an effective and permanent impact, it is crucial that local communities are engaged and participate in the development and adoption of relevant regulations and restrictions.   Therefore, one branch of the FZS’s work is focused on promoting and facilitating cooperation between protected areas and local communities living in the protected area or nearby. 

To do this it is important to minimize the impacts of the protected status on communities, for instance loss of access to natural resources, and explore ways that local people can benefit from the protected status of the land, including economic incentives to support the functioning of the protected area and successful nature conservation.

Areas of work with communities supported by FZS include: 

  • Participation of interested parties in the framework of the development of management plans.
  • Support of local green entrepreneurs.
  • Support for the development of United Territorial Community plans that will consider cooperation with protected areas.
  • Search for opportunities to attract resources (financial, material, and other) to support and enhance community development initiatives.

FZS supports local green  entrepreneurs that are based in communities bordering the five national parks of the Carpathian region of Ukraine. Participants on the project were determined via an open competition that invited people wishing to join the project to submit the concepts of their business ideas. In addition to the viability of the idea and the realism of the business plan, entrepreneurs had to meet certain criteria: produce high-quality products with a large share of local raw materials, use local labor resources where possible, and adhere to high environmental standards. Five business ideas were selected and FZS helped the business owners to develop and enhance their business plans, and to structure them in a way that is beneficial for both the local businesses and the national parks.

The purpose of the project is to provide support for the initiation and development of nature-friendly business initiatives and also to generate income for the national parks where business initiatives are implemented. All five business plans provide potential income streams for the national parks, for example through the provision of services – such as excursions, and rental of property and equipment –, entrance fees, and fees for the sustainable collection of resources such as mushrooms, berries, and herbs. Funds that will go to the NPP budgets will be used for the implementation of nature protection initiatives of the parks, the development of tourist infrastructure, garbage removal, and scientific research.

List of National Nature Parks (NNP) and business initiatives: 

  • NPP Hutsulshchyna – Creation of a Hutsul horse center
    This project envisages the creation of a center for the preservation and breeding of Hutsul horses according to the cultural heritage of the Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park, as well as the provision of tourist services. 11 Hutsul horses are currently kept in the park. Here, it is planned to preserve and breed Hutsul horses, whose existence is under threat, as well as provide tourist services related to Hutsul horses.
  • NPP Boikivshchyna – ‘Boykiv Dar’: processing of wild produce collected in the region
    Plans for this project include setting up the production of craft products from the region of the Boikivshchyna National Natural Park: wild fruits, berries, mushrooms, and bakery products. In parallel with the production of products, it is planned to provide services to local households for drying agricultural raw materials.
  • NPP Cheremoskyi – ‘Gifts of Hutsulshchyna’: processing of wild produce collected in the region
    We support the organization of a smooth process of processing wild produce such as mushrooms, berries, and other forest harvests collected in the Cheremoskyi NPP for the production of high-quality certified products. The production of products involves acute attention to the sustainability of collecting raw materials, in a way that does not have any negative impact on the biodiversity of the region and supports the traditional activities of local residents. The collection of raw materials is carried out in accordance with approved limits, including on the territory of the Cheremoskyi NPP.
  • NPP Zacharovanyi Kray – ‘The First Borzhava Velodrizina’
    Persha Borzhavska Velodrezina uses the network of the historic Borzhavska Narrow Gauge within the villages of Pryborzhavske and Lukovo, bordering the Zacharovanyi Kray NPP – which means ‘Enchanted Land’ –, to provide tourist services: cycling, excursions, bicycle rental and bicycle tours.
  • NPP Skolivski Beskydy – ‘Pralysy’: production of herbal teas collected in the Skolivski Beskydy NPP region.
    This initiative has been in operation since 2015, and currently there are 12 main products: These include teas made from medicinal herbs and fruits that are collected and/or grown on the territory of the Skolivski Beskydy NPP, as well as dried berries and spices.

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.