Regional Information Center "CARPATHIANS"

Hamor F., Dovhanych Ya., Pokynchereda V., Sukharyuk D., Bundzyak Yo., Berkela Yu., Voloshchuk M., Hodovanets В., Kabal M.

The overall results are provided in the table 1, which shows that not all sites of mature and old overgrowth stands correspond to the virgin forests criteria. This concerns the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve too, because some time ago forests with economic destination have been included to its territory. The table also illustrated the fact that the virgin forests are greatiy fragmented. Within the three districts there are 123 clusters that include 374 polygons of different forest types. Within each polygon there is an inventory plot, which has been described in detail.

About 251.000 ha of forests were inventoried within Rakhiv, Tyachiv and Khust administrative districts of the Transcarpathian administrative region in general.

Table 1. Distribution of sites by land users

Land users

Total studied area (ha)

Area of mature and old overgrowth forests which were expected to be virgin forests (ha)

Actually indicated virgin forests (ha)

Number of clusters defined as virgin forests

Carpathian Biosphere Reserve 31721 15776,7 14591,6 21
Mokryanske *SFHE 33182 9088,7 8829,8 25
Velykyi Bychkiv SFHE 47752 4845,5 4203,2 21
Rakhiv *SFE 37221 4537,7 3849,3 22
Brusturyanske SFHE 26511 4214,6 3724,1 16
Khust SFE 22533 2712,1 1457,6 3
Bushtyno SFE 21104 2 632,1 1074,7 2
Yasinya SFHE 31334 2161,5 942,0 13
Total 251358 46 402,9 38672,3 123
Here and in other tables:
* SFHE - State Forestry Hunting Enterprise ** SFE - State Forestry Enterprise

Distribution of virgin forests by main forest species

10 types of primeval forest stands are singled out based upon field research (Table 2)

Shows that pure forests of Fagus sylvatica (16.639,6 ha) comparing to the pure stands of Picea abies (8.292,6 ha) cover twice as much area. Smaller sites belong to the broadleaved forests with Quercus petraea dominating (only 10 ha).

Pure broadleaved and mixed broadleaved forests with Fagus sylvatica have almost equal area: 4.820,9 and 4.557,2 ha. It is also worth mentioning here that to the group of broadleaved forests with European beech dominating there belong a unique forest type with participation of Taxus baccata, and to the group with Picea abies dominating a poorly distributed stand with Pinus cembra has been referred.

Significantly smaller areas belong to the mixed forests with Picea abies and Abies alba dominating (2.793,6 and 1.006,5 ha correspondingly).

Table 2. Tree stand types by dominating species


Tree stand types

Area, ha

1 Pure beech stands 16639,6
2 Pure spruce stands 8292,6
3 Beech stands with participation of Acer pseudoplatanus 4820,9
4 Beech stands with participation of Picea abies, Abies alba 4557,2
5 Spruce stands with participation of Fagus sylvatica, Abies alba 2793,6
6 Fir stands with participation of Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies 1006,5
7 Spruce stands with participation of Pinus cembra 201,0
8 Pure tree stands of Duschekia viridis 183,0
9 Pure tree stands of Pinus mugo 167,6
10 European oak stands with participation of Fagus sylvatica 10,0

Distribution by the geobotanic provinces

Virgin forests identified by the inventory within Rakhiv, Tyachiv and Khust districts refer to the four geobotanic provinces: oak-beech and beech foothill Transcarpathian forests, beech Carpathian forests, spruce mountain Carpathian forests and subalpine and alpine crooked woodland and highland meadows.

As for the aforementioned provinces, the virgin forests are distributed in the following manner:

154,4 ha or 0,4 % belong to the oak-beech and beech foothill Transcarpathian forest province.

34224,2 ha or 88,5 % are concentrated within province of beech Carpathian forests, which includes sub-provinces of beech forests on the southern mega-slopes of the Polonyny Range, with which 19010,4 ha (55,5 % of the province’s area) of spruce-fir-beech, spruce-beech-fir and spruce-beech forests are associated, where virgin forests’ area constitutes 15213,8 ha (44,5 % of the virgin forests within the province).

In the province of spruce mountain Carpathian forests represented by the sub-province of spruce Chornohora and Maramorosh forests there are 10,2 % (3945,1 ha) of the virgin forests.

348,6 ha or 0,9 % of the virgin forests correspond to the province of sub-alpine and alpine crooked woodland and meadows, which comprises of three sub-provinces: crooked pine woodland with admixtures of alder, rhododendron grooves, sub-alpine and alpine meadows of the Chornohora-Maramorosh highland (140,0 ha or 40,2 %); densely-sod meadows with juniper and alder grooves and fragments of alpine vegetation of the mid-mountain Polonyny Range (43 ha or 12,3 %), moss-lichen heathlands and stony placers of the Gorgany Mis. (165,6 ha or 47,5 %).

Distribution of the virgin forest sites by clusters’area

Distribution of the virgin forests by the size of clusters shows that their area elevates from 50.6 ha to 14.405,9 ha.

As it follows from Table 3, small-sized clusters with the area from 50 to 100 ha and from 100 to 300 ha dominate. There are only 4 clusters which area exceeds 1.000 ha. The biggest cluster is located in Tyachiv and Khust districts. Its core area is made up of Uholka and Shyrokyi Luh beech virgin forests of CBR, which are adjacent to the Khust, Bushtyno and Mokryanske SFE.

Table 3. Distribution of virgin forests by clusters’ area

Area class, ha

Number of clusters

50-100 28
101-300 28
301-500 15
501-1000 10
1001 4

Distribution of the virgin forest sites by clusters’size

Fragmentation of the virgin forest sites is a rather sufficient threat for their functioning. So, the dusters of the first and the second groups (the smallest) being the most numerous cover least area then medium and large clusters. There are only 4 very big clusters, but they constitute almost 50% of the total virgin forests are (Table 4).

Table 4. Characteristic of distribution by cluster size

Area class, ha

Total clusters area, ha

50-100 2176,5
101-300 5017,2
301-500 5937,1
501-1000 6620,7
1001 18920,5

Distribution by altitude above sea level

As it is shown on Table 5, the largest areas of virgin forests are located within two hypsometric levels: lower then 1.000 m and within 1.000 – 1.400 m.a.s.l. The least amount of virgin forests is found at the altitude above 1400 m. The fact that sufficient part of virgin forests is located at the altitude up to 1000 m.a.s.l. is explained by the fact that they are located within CBR. Within state forestry enterprises the virgin forests are found at the altitude over 1.000 m. They are so-called sub-alpine forests which are under special protection (I group of forests) according to the Forest Code that has become invalid at the beginning of 2007.

Table 5. Distribution of virgin forest sites by altitude above sea level

Altitude above sea level




Number of clusters 13 64 8
Area, ha 17658,7 19519,1 1494,2

Distribution by slope gradient

Table 6 shows that the virgin forests are more widely distributed on the slopes with declination 20-30°. It is also preconditioned by the fact that many of them lie within CBR. For the state forestry enterprises most common distribution is on the slopes with declination 26-30° and over 30°. The least number of virgin forest sites has remained on gentle slopes (less then 20°) which is first of all explained by their accessibility.

Table 6. Distribution by slope gradient






Number of clusters 5 27 43 10
Area, ha 911,9 23213,8 11743,7 2802,6

Distribution of virgin forests by dominating slope expositions

Table 7 testifies that tie most numerous clusters are on the slopes with south-western, western and south-eastern exposition. This is preconditioned by the fact that Transcarpathian lies on the south-western mega-slope of the Ukrainian Carpathians and by the orographic direction of the second order mountain ridges. On other kinds of slopes the virgin forests are distributed almost homogeneously, so no pattern of their location depending upon the exposition has been traced.

Table 7. Character of virgin forest dependence upon slope expositions

Slope expositions

Number of clusters

North 9
Northeast 10
East 4
Southeast 16
South 8
Southwest 19
West 14
Northwest 5

Distribution of virgin forests by protection status

As Table 8 shows, only 39.9 % of the virgin forests are located within protected areas, significant part of which – 37.7 % -belongs to CBR.

In general, only one fourth of Transcarpathia’s territory is under protection by the biosphere reserve and national parks. Together with regional landscape parks, natural monuments etc. this index constitutes less then one third of the total are of the actual and potential virgin forests (Table 9).

Table 8. Distribution by the protection regime and use

Area, ha


Carpathian Biosphere Reserve 14591,6 37,7
Managed forests 23350,1 60,4
Other protected areas 730,6 1,9

Table 9. Virgin and overgrowth forests distribution by their protection status and use

Area, ha


National parks and biosphere reserves 17613,8 25,8
Managed forests 47750,1 70,0
Other protected areas 2880,6 4,2

Distribution of virgin forests and overgrowth forests by main mountain massifs

As it is shown in Table 10, the biggest forest sites are concentrated on the Polonyny mountain ridge – almost 13.500 ha. Svydovets (1.1240,3 ha), Gorgany (6.094,4 ha), Chornohora (4.092,1 ha) and Maramorosh (3.600,2 ha) are also referred to the massifs with significant virgin forests area. Small patches are left on the Volcanic Carpathians (154,4 ha).

The vastest areas of overgrowth forests were found on the Krasna Mountain Range (10.262 ha), in the Eastern Beskydy (7.550 ha), the Gorgany Mts. (2.390 ha) and on the Volcanic Carpathians (1.822 ha). Insignificant sites of old forests are present in the Transcarpathian Lowland (493 ha).

About 38.672,3 ha of virgin forests have been identified during the project, which comprises almost 60 % of the expected area of the Transcarpathian virgin forests judging from the results of office studies of taxation documents.

Virgin forests inventory is completed in such great mountain massifs as the Chornohora, the Maramorosh and the Svydovets. About 50 % of virgin forests were identified for another two great massifs – the Gorgany and the Polonyny Ridge. Field works were not held only in the eastern Beskydy, the very western part of Transcarpathian.

Table 10. Distribution of virgin forests and overgrowth forests by main mountain massifs

Main mountain massifs

Virgin forests

Overgrowth forests


Area (ha)


Area (ha)




1 Volcanic Carpathians 154,4 0,4 900 3,4 1054,4 1,6
2 Gorgany 6094,4 15,8 2390 9,0 8484,4 13,0
3 Transcarpathian Lowland - - 493 2,2 493 0,8
4 Maramorosh 3600,2 9,3 - - 3600,2 5,5
5 Polonyny Mountain Ridge 13490,9 34,8 10625 45,6 23752,9 38,8
6 Svydovets 11240,3 29,1 - - 11240,3 18,4
7 Eastern Beskydy - - 7550 33,5 7550 12,3
8 Chornohora 4092,1 10,6 - - 4092,1 6,7
Total 38672,3 100 22517 100 61189,3 100

Characteristic of virgin and overgrowth forests distribution by land users

The greatest amount of virgin forests (Table 11) is located within CBR – 14.591,6 ha or 37.7 %. Many of them are also found in the Mokryanske SFHE (8.829,8 ha or 22.8 %). Sites, which total area constitutes about 4.000 ha are found in Velykyi Bychkiv, Rakhiv and Brusturyanske SFE. The least amount of virgin forests (about 1.000 ha) is in Khust, Bushtyno and Yasinya SFE.

Office studies show that the vastest areas of mature and overgrowth forests are in Svalyava SFE (4.100 ha or 18.2 %). Significant areas of old forests were identified in Volovets and Mizhhirya SFE – 3.999 ha (17.8 %) and 3.234 ha (14.4 %) correspondingly. Vynohradiv SFE is characterized by the least area of the overgrowth forests.

In large-sized national parks Synevyr and Uzhanskyi where forest landscapes dominate, virgin forests are represented only by insufficient patches – 2.500 ha (11.1 %) and 500 ha (2.2 %) correspondingly.

Table 11. Distribution of virgin and overgrowth forests by land users

Land users

Virgin forest sites identified in field

Overgrowth forest sites identified during office studies

Area, ha


Area, ha


1 Carpathian BR 14591,6 37,7 - -
2 Mokryanske SFHE 8829,8 22,8 - -
3 Velykyi Bychkiv SFHE 4203,2 10,9 - -
4 Rakhiv SFE 3849,3 10,0 - -
5 Brusturyanske SFHE 3724,1 9,6 - -
6 Khust SFE 1457,6 3,8 - -
7 Bushtyno SFHE 1074,7 2,8 - -
8 Yasinya SFE 942,0 2,4 - -
9 Svalyava SFE - - 4100 18,2
10 Mizhhirya SFE - - 3999 17,8
11 Volovets SFE - - 3234 14,4
12 Uzhanskyi NNP - - 2500 11,1
13 Dovzhanske SFE - - 2362 10,5
14 Velykyi Bereznyi SFE - - 2046 9,1
15 Perechyn SFE 1461 6,5
16 Zahattya SFE - - 1100 4,8
17 Synevyr NNP - - 500 2,2
18 Mukachevo SFE - - 474 2,1
19 Berehovo SFE - - 248 1,1
20 Uzhgorod SFE - - 248 1,1
21 Vynohradiv SFE - - 245 1,1






Virgin and Overgrowth Forests Distribution by Transcarpathian administrative districts

It has been determined that the largest clusters are located within Tyachiv district – 22.582,9 ha or 58.4 %. A bit less are found in Rakhiv district – 14.632,1 ha or 37.8 %. The least amount – in Khust, only 1.457,3 ha or 3.8 % (Table 5).

As for mature and oldgrowth forests in other parts of Transcarpathia, office studies show that their largest amount is found in Velykyi Bereznyi district – 4.546 ha or 20.2 %. Large clusters are also found in Mizhhirya, Svalyava, Volovets and Irshava districts – from 3.000 to 4.500 ha. The smallest area of potential virgin forests -about 250 ha – is identified in Berehovo, Uzhgorod and Vynohradiv districts (Table 12).

Field research proved that about 80 % of mature and overgrowth stands correspond to the virgin forests. So, it is expected that out of 22.517 ha of mature and overgrowth forests about 18.000 may be identified as actual virgin forests.

Table 12. Presence of virgin and overgrowth forests in the administrative districts of Transcarpathia

Administrative district

Virgin forest sites identified in field

Overgrowth forest sites identified in the result of office studies

Area, ha


Area, ha


1 Tyachiv 22582,9 58,4 - -
2 Rakhiv 14632,1 37,8 - -
3 Khust 1 457,3 3,8 - -
4 Velykyi Bereznyi - - 4546 20,2
5 Mizhhirya - - 4499 20,0
6 Svalyava - 4100 18,2
7 Irshava - - 3462 15,3
8 Volovets - - 3234 14,4
9 Perechyn - - 1461 6,5
10 Mukachevo - - 474 2,1
11 Berehovo - - 248 1,1
12 Uzhgorod - - 248 1,1
13 Vynohradiv - - 245 1,1
Total 38672,3 100 22517 100

Source: Hamor F., Dovhanych Ya., Pokynchereda V., Sukharyuk D., Bundzyak Yo., Berkela Yu., Voloshchuk M., Hodovanets В., Kabal M. Virgin forests of Transcarpathia. Inventory and management. – Rakhiv, 2008. – 86 p.
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