Virgin forests, the greatest treasure of Europe (Photos)  

             In October 12-17, 2003 the International scientific conference “Natural forests in the Temperate Zone of Europe – Values and Utilization” was held in Transcarpathia. There were 230 participants at the conference, which represented the elite of the European forest science from 26 countries of the Western and Eastern Europe. The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and the Ukrainian Carpathian Biosphere Reserve (CBR) were the initiators of the conference, which was organized under the patronage of the Council of Europe, WWF, IUCN and IUFRO.

            The Director of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve (CBR), Doctor of Biological Sciences Fedir D. Hamor opened the conference.

            The welcome addresses were made by the Head of the State Committee of Forestry of Ukraine M.V. Kolisnichenko, who conveyed the greeting on behalf of the Ukrainian government; the first deputy head of the Transcarpathian regional state administration  S.S. Revak and by the director of the WSL - Mario F. Broggi.

            The Head deputy of the Transcarpathian Regional Board I.V. Artiomov read out the greetings from Lytvyn V. M. - the Head of the Verkhovna Rada and Andrus M. I. -  the Head of the Transcarpathian Regional Council. He also rewarded the director of the WSL Mario F. Broggi and the director of the CBR Hamor F. D. by the honorary diploma of the Regional Board.

            At the Plenary Sessions there were represented reports on the latest achievements of the European forest science and practice, such as: “Virgin and natural forests in the Temperate Zone of Europe” - Jari Parviainen, professor from Finland; “Virgin and natural forests in Ukraine: problems and strategies for protection” - Vasyl I. Parpan, Dr. of Biological Sciences, director of the Ukrainian Mountain Forestry Scientific-Research Institute of P.S. Pasternak; “Carpathian biosphere reserve: conservation and sustainable utilisation” - Fedir D. Hamor, Dr. of Biological Sciences, director of the CBR; “Old-growth forests as a knowledge source for silviculture: reality or myth?” - Peter Brang, professor from Switzerland; “Importance of natural forests for biodiversity” - Peter Duelli, professor from Switzerland; “Socio-economic values of natural forests” - Bill Slee, professor from UK; “Forest influence on runoff generation” - Christopher Hegg, Switzerland.

Afterwards, participants of the conference worked in 12 parallel sessions, such as: “Structure and dynamics of natural and managed fir-beech and spruce-fir forests”, “Genetic and species diversity”, “Structure and dynamics of natural and managed beech forests”, “Assessment of biodiversity and nature conservation value”, “Vegetation dynamics and forest ecosystem modelling”, “Protection of natural forests in past and present time”, “Management of natural forests and buffer zones”, “Natural forests and tourism”, “Diverse socio-economic values of natural forests” etc.

Above 60 presentations were made within 3 days of the conference work.

The participants of the conference were familiarised with the cultural values of Transcarpathia, saw the performance of the Transcarpathian folk chorus and visited the virgin forests of Uholskyi and Chornohirskyi massifs.

The booklet “Virgin forests in the Centre of Europe” (a guidebook along the forests of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve), an important result of the long-term co-operation of the CBR and Swiss scientists within the Institutional Partnership project, was presented at the conference.

The important practical recommendations, which will serve as the basis for acceptance of the important administrative decisions, were worked out during the conference.