CARPATHIANS – THE HEART AND LUNGS OF EUROPE
Carpathian mountains are the cradle of many nations since the olden times. Today in the conditions of global climatic changes which threaten the humanity they play a life-giving role without any exaggeration. Ecosystems of the Carpathians provide the proper water, air and climatic balances, serve as the place of existence of the most of the flora and fauna of Europe. For this reason Carpathians are included to the list of 200 the most important natural regions of the world by the World Fund of Nature. Representing the unique natural inheritance, Carpathians, Alps, Scandinavian mountains and other mountain ranges play an extremely important role in the life-support of continent today and in the forming of global safety for the generations to come. Being situated in the center of the European continent Carpathians are figuratively called the heart and lungs of Europe. Mountain regions have an exceptional value as sources of natural resources, biological variety, recreational potential and they serve as the major component of biosphere, as the life-support factor for the whole population of Europe with water, energy, natural minerals, forest and agricultural products. Economic problems of mountain regions are connected mainly with the strict specialization of the forestry-based agricultural districts with severe climatic conditions and rugged lay of the land which limit the choice of types of economic activity for the locals. This results in substantial deformation of the economies structure, makes it fragile to the survival in the period of crisis, creates additional difficulties for the regional labour market and the hill-people social defence. Therefore the problem of maintenance of social, economic, natural and cultural potential of the Carpathians and mountain regions of Europe in general acquire special attention. Regardless the acceptance of the Declaration on environment and steady development in the regions of Carpathians and Danube (Bucharest, 2001), the Framework Convention “On guard and steady development of the Carpathians” signed by 7 countries in 2003, the proper co-ordination of actions of state and local powers in the decision of problems of steady development of all the region of Carpathians, unfortunately, has not yet been worked out.
Source: Magazine “Transcarpathia” № 2 summer/autumn 2010