Majestic virgin forests of the Gorgany Nature Reserve (2100 ha) together with the reserve’s unique vegetation complex (3600 ha) represent a potential UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.


This is a serial cluster nomination, which represents the biggest part of the globally unique remaining virgin forest sites with beech subformations together with beech-fir, beech-spruce-fir, Swiss pine-spruce and spruce-Swiss pine montane virgin forests. Naturally they are vertically changing within the elevation from 950 up to 1535 m a.s.l. and are completed by a complex of evolutionary replaced stony debris areas through stages of lichens, mosses, herbaceous plants up to green alder and mountain pine dwarfish communities and relict coenosis of pine-birch with Betula obscura, pine and Swiss pine-spruce. Processes of land ecosystem formation are vivid and extremely impressive. The ecosystems together with plant and animal habitats very by types and structure and number up to 40, and these formation processes have started right after the last Glacial Age and continue nowadays. The processes of species formation and evolution, especially the ones for endemics and relict species, are not only reference models of natural development, but are as well important for investigations of regeneration mechanisms and conservation of similar ecosystems across the world.

Virgin forest of Swiss pine (Pinuc cembra) in Natural Reserve

Swiss pine (Pinus cembra) is a relict of the early Holocene, which in the Ukrainian Carpathians is recorded in 135 localities with an area of 4.2 hectares. This is a five-needle tree 20-25 m tall, which reaches up to 400 years and more. In the “Gorgany” Nature Reserve there are 2300 trees of Swiss pine. Individual trees that grow on the stony placers of southern exposition, rising at Doboshanka up to 1730 m above sea level.  Spruce-Swiss pine and  Swiss pine-spruce forests of the Reserve are distributed within 965-1580 m a.s.l. and mostly grow on steep slopes of the southern exposition where they form tree stands with domination of Swiss pine. On poor stony soils covered with peat layer of organic mortal substances primeval phytocoenosis of a sub-formation Pineto (cembrae)-Piceetum (abietis) are formed. Here they are distributed on the area of 539 ha. The swiss pine forests (Pineta cembrae) are represented by the following associations: Piceeto (abietis) – Pinetum (cembrae) sphagnosum, Piceeto (abietis)–Pinetum (cembrae) vaccinoso (myrtilli)–hylocomiosum, Piceeto (abietis)–Pinetum (cembrae) vaccinoso (myrtilli) – sphagnosum. They occur sporadically at the upper parts (1100-1535 m a.s.l.) on mostly southern and south-western slopes on rock debris-stony brown soils. The phytocoenosis are listed to the Green Book of Ukraine (2009). The virgin forest ecosystems with participation the Swiss pine should be protected as relict ones. The Swiss pine tree stands are of a great zoological significance as habitats for representatives of a rare boreal fauna Nucifraga caryocatactes, Loxia curvirostra, Tetrao urogallus. The Swiss pine supports the upper tree line and is capable for scree places’ – the gretots – succession.