The policy of enlargement of the areas of the Nature Reserve Lands of Ukraine and the establishment of reserves as a separate field of environmental protection was a subject of special concern in 1998.
Relations in the sphere of organization, protection, rehabilitation and utilization of the Nature Reserve Lands are regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Nature Reserve Lands of Ukraine” (1992).
Aimed at the strengthening of the legal basis of activities in the field of reserve science and in compliance with the requirements of the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 12 November 1997 No. 1259 “On the Perfection of State Control of Reserves in Ukraine”, a draft of the Law “On Changes and Additions to the Law of Ukraine ‘On Nature Reserve Lands of Ukraine’ ” was drawn up in 1998.
The draft prescribes the reformation of service infrastructure of protection of the Nature Reserve Lands, introduction of changes improving the procedure of formation (determination) of territories and objects of the Nature Reserve Lands, etc. A number of decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and orders of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine were prepared and adopted in 1998 in order to implement the requirements of the Law “On Nature Reserve Lands of Ukraine”.
These decisions were aimed at the improvement of the mechanism of compensation for violation of nature protection laws and harmful impact causing deterioration of the objects of the Nature Reserve Lands, organization activity in the field of environmental education, and scientific research to be carried out by the establishments of the Nature Reserve Lands, etc.
The system of Nature Reserve Lands has been developed in accordance with the National Programme of prospective development of Nature Conservation Protected Sites in Ukraine (Decision of the Supreme Council of Ukraine No. 177/9 – BP of 22 September 1994). To coordinate the implementation of this Programme, within the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety, special department units of Nature Reserve Lands have been established.
The functions of state management in the field of organization, protection and
utilization of the Nature Reserve Lands, performance of the State Cadastre of Nature
Reserve Lands, etc. were imposed on this unit.
The Nature Reserve Lands of Ukraine consist of 15 nature and 4 biosphere reserves, 8 national natural parks, 228 sanctuaries, 132 nature relics, 17 botanical gardens, 7 zoological parks, 19 dendrological parks, 88 park memorials of landscape art of national importance, and the rest are objects of regional and local importance.
For the last 6 years (as compared to 1992) the area of nature reserves has increased by 1,037,400 hectares (78.8%).
Changes in the area of the Nature Reserve Lands during 1992-1998
The share of separate categories in the territory of the Nature Reserve Lands is as follows: nature reserves — 4.8%, biosphere reserves — 9.6%, national natural parks 20.9%, nature relics — 0.9%, botanical gardens — 0.1%, zoological parks — 0.02%, dendrological parks — 0.06%, park memorials of landscape art — 0.5%, regional landscape parks 17.2%, reserve sites — 3.3.% .
The number of objects of the Nature Reserve Lands increased significantly in 1998. Six Decrees adopted by the President of Ukraine announced the establishment of new and expansion of existing territories and objects of national significance. Two nature reserves, the Kazantipskyi (450.1 hectares) and Opukskyi (1,592.3 hectares) in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, the Danube biosphere reserve (464,022.9 hectares, based on the Nature Reserve “Dunaiski plavni”) in Odesa Region, and Yavoriv national natural park (7,078.6 hectares) in Lviv Region were established; the territory of the Black Sea biosphere reserve was expanded; and a number of sanctuaries and nature relics were announced as protected. A network of nature reserves was announced. In total the Nature Reserve Lands have increased by 108 territories and objects with a total area of 145,220 hectares during 1998.
A list of valuable nature territories with a total area of 6,388,700 hectares which are reserved for the creation of new and expansion of existing nature reserves and sanctuaries of general national importance during 1998-2005 was approved by a Decree of the President of Ukraine of 24 April 1998.
Background documents for the creation of a number of new reserve objects were prepared in 1998. They form a legal basis for the establishment of the national natural parks “Skolivski Beskidy” in Lviv Region; “Desnyansko-Starogutskyi” in Sumy Region; “Uzhanskyi” in Zakarpattia Region; and a nature reserve in Rivne Region. It is also expected that the territory of the Shatskyi national natural park in Volyn Region will be enlarged.
Activities regarding the development of projects of allotment of lands, physical delineation, and preparation of State Acts on land use rights were organized to implement the previous decrees of the President of Ukraine aimed at the development and strengthening of the Nature Reserve Lands. At present, the State Act has been granted to the nature reserve “Gorgany”, and the State Act will soon be obtained by the national nature reserve “Vizhnytskyi”. Relevant land allotment projects for the national park “Podilski Tovtry” and nature reserve “Yelanetskyi Step” have been developed.
Physical delineation has been completed for the Kazantypskyi, Opukskyi, “Yelanetskyi Step”, “Gorgany” nature reserves; the natural parks “Vyzhnytskyi”, “Podilski Tovtry”, “Svyati Gory”, Yavorivskyi, Carpathian, and “Synevyr” and for Carpathian biosphere reserve.
The projects of organization of nature reserve territories for “Yelanetskyi Step” and “Gorgany” have been developed and approved corresponding projects are being developed for the national natural parks “Vyzhnytskyi”, “Podilski Tovtry” and “Svyati Gory”.
The preparation of the State Cadastre of the Nature Reserve Lands of Ukraine is considered as a sectoral priority. It has been carried out with the aim of evaluating the composition and prospects of the development of the Nature Reserve Lands, and the current state of territories and objects, to organize efficient protection and utilization complying with modern requirements, to draw up a plan of urgent scientific investigations as well as to provide the governmental authorities and institutions with reliable information necessary for decision- making and solving the problems of socio-economic development. Cards of primary assessment of the territories and objects of the Nature Reserve Fund have been prepared and filled in for most objects.
A draft Programme of formation of a national Ukrainian ecological network for 2000-2015 coordinated by the central governmental authorities and other interested establishments was prepared in 1998. The document prescribes the setting up of a united territorial system of plots of natural landscapes in a form of natural areas and corridors for protecting biological diversity, biocenoses stability and the ecological balance in the territory of Ukraine. Plans for an expansion of the territory of the Nature Reserve Lands will make it comprise 10.4% of the state area.
Transboundary protected areas have been established. The creation of interstate protected areas has become a part of Ukraine’s international activities. The regional landscape parks “Stuzhitsia” (Zakarpatti Region) and “Nadsyanskyi” (Lviv Region), which became a part of the trilateral Polish-Slovakian-Ukrainian biosphere reserve “Skhidni Karpaty” have been included into the international network of biosphere reserves.
Information containing descriptions of 22 wetland areas of international significance have been prepared and transferred to the Bureau of the Ramsar Convention. Recognition of the international importance of these areas have been confirmed by issuing special certificates. Thus the procedure of Ukraine joining the legal field of the Ramsar convention has been completed.
A draft legislative act “On Approval of the Statute on Wetlands of National importance” was developed within the framework of the Ramsar Convention and transferred to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The expected decision is aimed at the setting up of regulation of the procedures for determination of certain territories as wetlands, development of reliable criteria for evaluation of such territories, and the regime of their protection and nature utilization.