WWF launched new research for identifying virgin forests in Polissia
WWF’s field research will show whether virgin forests still exist in the Polissia region. The field work is conducted in accordance with the recently approved methodology of virgin forests identification and conservation by the Ministry of Environment. "The criteria for identification and approval of virgin forests are quite strict - virgin areas with an area of less than 20 hectares are not considered. We hope to find beautiful areas of untouched and very old forests in Polissia," said Uli Grebener, CEO of Succow Foundation, which has partnered with WWF in this field work.
WWF-Ukraine and the Succow Foundation joined together to conduct a preliminary assessment of forest plots in Volyn’ province in June to test the methodology. "We visited the Shatsk National Nature Park and examined the potential old growth forests within the park. We managed to find wonderful forests that are slightly different than in the Carpathians. We saw pine forests, alder wood in lowlands and marshy places, where the age of trees is 200 years old, which is already quite a lot for alder,” Uli Grebener said.
In July, in cooperation with the State Agency of Forest Resources of Ukraine, training was held for the first group of forest managers who will carry out further research for virgin forests in Zhytomyr province.
According to Roman Volosyanchuk, WWF Forest Project Manager, the identification of virgin forests in Polissia is much more difficult than the Carpathians, where almost 100,000 hectares of old forests have so far been identified. “There are less potential virgin forests left in Polissia compared to the Carpathians, however, several larger territories still need to be investigated - approximately 3,5 million ha of woodlands. It will be the most recent study of undisturbed natural plain forests. If we succeed in finding unique ecosystems of alder, oak and pine forests, their scientific confirmation and conservation will be the next stage. Similar ecosystems have survived only in Bialowieza Forest in Poland and Belarus," said Roman Volosyanchuk.