Chornohora Wilderness Candidate
The 1 130 ha Chornohora Wilderness Candidate is embedded into the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The Reserve is in the Ukrainian part of Carpathian Mountain. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve already hosts the certified Uholka – Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest and Maramarosh Wilderness. The Reserve further includes additional, large area with Wilderness potential: Svydovec
Chornohora Wilderness represents an outstanding example of undisturbed old-growth mixed forest (beech, fir and spruce), tree line with mugo pine and rare fragments of subalpine and alpine habitats (composition of mugo pine, juniper, alder and rhododendron). Sub-alpine meadows used to be intensively grazed in the past but currently, grazing is very limited and the area has many signs of natural succession. There are also several wild streams, such as the Ozirnyi, Bilyi, Skopeshchyk and Keveliv Streams.
The area contains a large genetic reservoir on which many species depend and can be associated with this wide spectrum of habitats. Parts of Chornohora Wilderness are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.
The 1 130 ha Chornohora Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in spring 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness
Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Chornohora Wilderness to the size of approx. 15 000 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.
The Chornohora Wilderness is a large area with old-growth beech and mixed beech-spruce-fir forests. It is an area of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity which depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. It contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for old-growth Carpathian beech and mixed forests, tree line and subalpine meadows. Tree line and subalpine meadows were used in the past for intensive grazing. The striking and impressive features of this area are the big trees; broken tree stems covered with a variety of fungi and fragments of wild undamaged tree line. The area has a permanent small population of brown bears, wolves and lynxes. Typical bird dwellers in the area are the black stork and eagle-owl.
Chornohora Wilderness can be accessed using several marked trails. The most popular trail goes along the northern border following the ridge between Carpathian Biosphere Reserve and Carpathian National Nature Park. This trail is intensively used as it leads to the highest point of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine – Hoverla (2 061 m) and gives the possibility to continue to Petros (2 020 m).
Chornohora Wilderness is located approx. 210 km from Uzhhorod and approx. 90 km from Ivano Frankivsk. The starting point for hikers is usually Rachiv town or Kvasy village. The marked trails provide a unique experience in Chornohora Wilderness leading through primeval beech and mixed forest, tree line and pass through traditionally used alpine meadows (poloniny).
Bondarivske wetland Wilderness Candidate
The 1 300 ha Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness Candidate is embedded into the Mizhrichynskyy Regional Landscape Park, Ukraine. The park is situated between the Dnieper and Desna rivers.
Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness is a massive wetland of the great hydrological, geomorphological and landscape importance. The unique landscapes also includes taiga-type moss swamps and floodplains. This area hosts a number of rare animal and plant species.
The 1 300 ha Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness was the subject to the Wilderness Pre-Audit in June 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Full-Audit is scheduled for 2021.
Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness has a scattered islands of pine forests, glacial sand dunes and impassable marshes located between the Dnieper and Desna rivers. It contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for undisturbed wetlands. It is home to two packs of wolves, lynx, eagles, and populations of approximately 130 , 30 black grouse six pairs of grey cranes and ten beavers.
The area is adjacent to the Chernobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve and provides an important habitat for migrating species. In 1950, people were removed from this area, for military purposes. The Ministry of Defence controls access to the area for military operations. There has been no public fishing or hunting since the 1980’s. Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness is split by a concrete road that is used rarely by local forest and park managers and militaries.
Mizhrichynskyy Regional Landscape Park is well known and frequently visited tourism destination. Proximity to Kiev makes this one of Ukraine’s most popular Regional Landscape Park. The park offers a wide spectrum of experiences. Access to the Bondarivske Wetland Wilderness is restricted by the Ministry of Defence, but guided tours to the vicinity of Bondarivske Wetland are offered by a local organisation.
Milka WILDIsland Candidate
Milka WILDIsland – Candidate is embedded in Persina Nature Park. The Strict Nature Reserve Milka Island was established in 1948 at the total area of 39 ha and used to be a solitary reserve in the middle of Danube for many years. Together with the nearby Kitka Island, strictly protected since 1981, both islands are located within the boundaries of Persina Nature Park.
Persina Nature Park is the only Bulgarian nature park situated along the Bulgarian part of Danube river. The designation of this protected area aims at the conservation and restoration of Danube wetlands and islands. Milka and Kitka Islands are two strictly protected islands that are valuable for their unique floodplain forests under strict protection for several decades.
Milka WILDIsland was subject to Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After the finalisation of the Quick-Audit for Milka WILDIsland, there is further potential to carry out the Quick-Audit of Kitka Island as well. In this case both islands could become important members of the European Wilderness Network.
Milka WILDIsland is located in the Danube River and is accessible only by boat. The island is entirely covered by natural riverine forest, consisting mainly of willow, poplar and elm. Forest formation is directly related to the river’s water regime. The high-water level heavily impacts particularly the spring vegetation. The riparian vegetation also consists of wild vine, hops and rare liana species. The island provides a good habitat for rare plant species, such as the yellow water rose and swamp ragweed.
Milka WILDIsland is an important bird breeding area for a number of aquatic bird species, such as cormorants and black-necked grebe. Moreover, it is a rare but characteristic habitat of the white-tailed eagle. There is also a rich diversity of mammals including black ferrets and river otters. Many amphibians and reptiles also inhabit the area, like the Balkan spadefoot and the water snake.
The Milka WILDIsland is not accessible to visitors, however, a number of islands in the vicinity, such as Persin Island, Shturetsa Island or Magaretsa Island provide a very unique experience. Persina Nature Park contains many bike and foot trails outside the Wilderness that enable visitors to discover the Danube river, forest and wetland ecosystems. There are designated routes for birdwatchers, hikers and bikers. A scenic route between the islands on boat or canoe provide the perfect combination of rowing and observing floodplain forests with characteristic birds. A special rare experience is observation of the white-tailed eagle – the symbol of the Persina Nature Park, which has a nesting place in this island complex. Additionally, there are many interesting cultural and historical sights in the surroundings.
Persinski blata Wilderness Candidate
Persinski blata Wilderness is situated inside of Persinski blata Reserve which is embedded in Persina Nature Park. The size of this Wilderness – Candidate is 1 450 ha. The 3 852 ha Persinski blata Reserve was created in 1981 with the objective to conserve a typical example of Danube marshes and its wildlife. The area consists of 4 separated but ecologically linked marshes and lakes. The reserve hosts large, mixed colonies of herons, spoonbills, cormorants and pelicans in the Bulgarian Danube basin.
The area of Persinski blata Wilderness was heavily drained during the soviet era but between 2002-2008, the first ever Bulgarian wetland restoration project was implemented here and the natural water regime was restored. However, due to Iron gate dam on the Danube River and constant fluctuation of the water level, 3 small water gates are still sporadically used to regulate the water inflow on the restored wetland.
The 1 450 ha Persinski blata Wilderness was subject to Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. There is a potential after the Quick-Audit to expand Persinski blata Wilderness to a size of approx. 3 500 ha and dramatically increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.
Persinski blata Reserve is a wetland of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity that depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The area is a very favourable habitat for birds. Colonies of many different bird species live here, including terns, herons, cormorants, gulls, wild ducks and geese. The area is particularly important as a safe nesting spot for extremely threatened species such as the Dalmatian pelican. Furthermore, black storks gather here in autumn and the mute swan nests here in summer. Additionally, there are also many rare and threatened plant species in the area, such as water chestnut, yellow floating-heart or frogbit.
Persina Nature Park and particularly Persinski blata Reserve offers many touristic opportunities. The park can be explored on foot, by bike, boat or with a kayak. It is a very important area for birds, as a huge diversity of birds that depend on water and wetlands live there.
Persinski blata Reserve has limited accessibility due to a currently operating prison on the Persin island territory. Due to specific conditions, there must be an accompanying guide appointed by the park administration. Therefore, also the accessibility of the Wilderness is strictly regulated. The best opportunity to experience Wilderness is on a bird watching trail across the Persin island that gives visitors a window into Wilderness. Additionally, there is also a lot of interesting cultural and historical heritage nearby Persina Nature Park.
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness Candidate
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness is embedded in Vitosha Nature Park. The Bistrishko Branishte Strict Reserve was established in 1934 and has the total area of 1 061 ha. Bistrishko Branishte is located on the north-eastern slope of Vitosha Nature Park in the vicinity of Sofia. The highest point in the reserve is 2 286 m above sea level and the lowest is 1 430 m above sea level.
Over 50% of the territory of Bistrishko Branishte Strict Reserve is covered by predominantly 100 to 120 years old spruce forest. The rest constitutes of meadows, rock formations and several stone rivers in the sub-alpine zone.
The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water through its Sofia Regional Environmental Inspectorate.
The 500 ha Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. There is a potential after finalising the Quick-Audit to expand Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness to the size ca 1 000 ha and increase Wilderness Quality Standard.
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness hosts a great biodiversity which includes a large number of endemic and relict species. There are hundreds of species of algae, close to 200 species of lichens and more than 500 mushroom species. Some of the most remarkable plant species present in the Wilderness are the globe flower, anemone and yellow gentian.
The Balkan endemics to be found here are the crocus and fairy flower among others. The Wilderness provides refuge to many animal species of European importance. Among them are the wolf, wild cat, brown bear and the pine marten, as well as the nutcracker, goldcrest, siskin, and some species of woodpeckers.
Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness attracts many tourists from Sofia and the adjacent villages. Visitors are encouraged to stay on marked trails and enjoy the extensive well-marked trail network for hiking and skiing. Vitosha Nature Park is also a place for practicing various extreme sports, such as alpinism, delta-gliding, para-gliding and mountain biking. These can be officially done outside of Bistrishko Branishte Wilderness.
Currently the Vitosha Nature Park puts a great emphasis on education in ecological awareness, therefore various educative programs are part of the park’s management plan.
Torfeno Branishte Wilderness Candidate
Torfeno Branishte Wilderness is embedded in Vitosha Nature Park. The Torfeno Branishte Strict Reserve was established in 1935 with the aim of preserving 783 ha of the well-protected turf communities in the subalpine zone of Vitosha mountain. The strict conservation regime prohibits all management activities within the territory.
Torfeno Branishte Strict Reserve is the largest high-mountain peat complex in Bulgaria with hundreds of moss and algae species. The turf surface is up to 2 m thick, increasing annually by approx. 1 mm.
The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water through its Sofia Regional Environmental Inspectorate.
The 350 ha Torfeno Branishte Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a big potential to expand Torfeno Branishte Wilderness to the size ca 700 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.
The peat complex of the Torfeno Branishte Wilderness lies on the northern slope of Vitosha mountain comprising the parts of Big Plateau and the Kapaklivets Plateau between the peaks of Cherni Vrah (2 290 m) and Ushite (1 906 m).
Over 300 species of moss and 500 species of algae occur in the peat reserve and several Balkan endemics can also be observed. There are also two insectivorous plants – Balkanian butterwort and common sundew, moreover, the unique globe flower, also known as Vitosha tulip can be observed. For avian representatives this zone is an important trophic base, especially for some representatives of falcons, which hunt on the ground.
The sub-Alpine zone is an important habitat for the endemic Balkan subspecies of the Balkan horned lark and the subspecies of alpine accentor.
The access of tourists to Torfeno Branishte Wilderness is only allowed on marked trails. Vitosha Nature Park, however, is the most visited protected area in Bulgaria with over 2.5 million visitors every year. Currently the overall length of paths and trails the park’s visitors can follow is over 300 km.
The tourist trails are well-marked with different colours according to the trails. In the open plateaus of Vitosha, metal poles signalise the way to go, thus supporting orientation during the winter months.
Chervenata stena Wilderness Candidate
The Chervenata Stena Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1962 and is embedded into the Chervenata Stena Biosphere Reserve since 2017. The area is situated in the Rhodope Mountains, about 30 km south of Plovdiv and is one of the most biodiverse areas in Europe characterized by wide variety of landscape and an immense variety of plant and animal species.
Chervenata Stena Strict Nature Reserve is part of a karstic marble massif, characterized by steep slopes and deep ravines. The area represents an outstanding example of undisturbed old Sub-Mediterranean forest of black pine and silver fir and fragments of relict hornbeam.
The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water, through its Regional Inspectorate in Plovdiv.
The 1 200 ha Chervenata Stena Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Chervenata Stena Wilderness to the size ca 3 000 ha and in this way increase the Wilderness Quality Standard.
The Chervenata Stena Wilderness is an area with several decade-long protection of a wide spectrum of habitats. It is an area of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity that depends on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The area is not populated and the majority of historical human impact has been significantly self-restored. This leads to an abundance of plant and animal life. The area contains representatives of flora and fauna typical for this part of Rhodope Mountains with many relicts and paleoendemic species including large yellow lady’s slipper, spurge laurel daphne, common lilac and many more. Brown bear, wolf, red fox, wild boar, chamois and many more rare and protected animals are also found here.
From a touristic point of view, a part of Wilderness can be explored on foot following several marked trails (three are crossing the northern part of the Strict Nature Reserve and proposed Wilderness). These trails offer a variety of interesting activities like hiking, wildlife watching and rare plants sightings and exploring unique rock formations. There is a variety of interesting activities in the vicinity of the Wilderness within the territory Chervenata Stena Biosphere Park. The best way to explore the Wilderness is with a mountain guide that is passionate and knowledgeable about the area.
Mantaritza WILDForest Candidate
Mantaritza Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1968 with an aim to protect an outstanding example of old forest in the Western Rhodope mountains. The reserve protects an area of mixed forests that has been without any human impact since the reserve was established.
A unique feature of this reserve are the pristine broadleaf and conifer forests with very natural structure and a lot of deadwood. The area provides an important habitat for a number of flora and fauna species, particularly for western capercaillie.
The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water, through its Regional Inspectorate in Pasardzik.
The 400 ha Mantaritza WILDForest was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick Audit there is a large potential to expand Mantaritza WILDForest to the size of 1 070 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.
Mantaritza WILDForest is mainly composed of three dominant tree species: spruce, beech and silver fir. Almost the entire area of the WILDForest is covered by old forest, unmanaged already for several decades. The WILDForest has very natural structure and its ongoing dynamic processes, such as spontaneous forest recovery, are very visible. The area can be considered as one of the best representative examples of this type of forest habitat in entire Bulgaria.
Mantaritza WILDForest is a very important area also for its rich diversity of fauna. Brown bear and wolf are present here, together with badger, wild cat and pine marten. Besides that, there are red deer and roe deer, as well as wild boar. Mantaritza WILDForest is also home to several rare bird species, such as various species of hawks or woodpeckers, for example the three-toed woodpecker, as well as pygmy owl, hazel grouse, black woodpecker and European crested tit.
There is a nice officially marked tourist trail going through the western part of the Mantaritza WILDForest. The trail is passing Mantaritza WILDForest in the length about 3 km and the time needed is 1,5 hours. The trail is offering a great experience to explore this attractive area, it is well marked and in a good condition.
The nearby town Rakitovo is a well-known mountain village offering various possibilities of outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking and birdwatching. Not far from Rakitovo is the famous cave Lepenitsa. The whole area is attractive tourist destination.
Kongura Wilderness Candidate
The Kongura Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1988 and is embedded into the Belasitsa Nature Park. The Reserve is situated in the Belasitsa Mountains, about 45 km south of Blagoevgrad and is one of the most biodiverse area in Bulgaria.
Kongura Strict Nature Reserve protects an extensive area of old beech and sweet chestnut forests. In the past, the tree line was reduced by grazing and logging. However, due to the absence of these activities in the last years, the tree line is in the process of spontaneous restoration.
The territory is exclusive state property and is managed and protected by the Ministry of Environment and Water, through its Regional Inspectorate in Blagoevgrad.
The 450 ha Kongura Wilderness was subject to pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Kongura Wilderness to the size of approx. 1 300 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.
Biodiversity in the Kongura Wilderness is very large and unique. Most of the identified biotopes represent a unique example of the wild and spontaneously developing ecosystems. Within the territory of Kongura Wilderness, the forest is covering over 97% of the area and the rest are shrubs and small meadows in the vicinity of the tree line. The most dominant tree is the beech. The chestnut is found in the lower parts, below the beech belt. Shrub and grass ecosystems are predominantly located on the outskirts and higher parts, and are dominated by juniper, hawthorn and rose hip.
About 1 500 plant species have been found in this area, including endemic species of Bulgaria and the Balkans, and a number of species are also listed on IUCN Red List. The area is home to Albanian lily, karst lucerne and many others. The area is also rich in fauna and more that 130 species of birds have been identified in these biomes. The area also hosts wolf, fox and wild cat. Other common mammals are roe deer, wild boar and badger.
From a touristic point of view, the borders of the Wilderness can be explored on foot following several marked trails. These trails offer a variety of interesting activities such as hiking, wildlife watching, rare plants sightings and also exploration of unique rock formations.
The easiest access to Kongura Wilderness is to follow the forest road/trail along the western boundary. This option offers the opportunity to stay in one of mountain chalets Belasitsa or Kongur. In the recent years, the interest in mountain biking is increasing due to the good network of forest roads. Surrounding the Wilderness, there are opportunities to stay in villages, where local eco-tourism activities are quickly developing.
Ali Botush Wilderness Candidate
The Ali Botush Strict Nature Reserve was created in 1951 in the remote Slavyanka mountain range close to the Greek border. The aim was to protect the largest forests of Bosnian pine in the Balkan Peninsula. Ali Botush Strict Nature Reserve lies in a karstic area at altitudes between 1 140 and 2 212 m. The area is purely a forest reserve and the alpine zone, which has been intensively used in the past, is excluded. Because of this, the south border mainly follows the line between the mountain forest and alpine pastures.
For approx. the last 20 years the area is mostly abandoned and large areas without any signs of grazing provide a great example of spontaneous tree line restoration. This creates an opportunity for potential enlargement and creation of transboundary Wilderness in cooperation with Greece.
The 1 050 ha Ali Botush Wilderness was subject to a Pre-Audit in autumn 2019 and meets the Bronze Wilderness Quality Standard. After finalising the Quick-Audit, there is a large potential to expand Ali Botush Wilderness to the size of approx. 1 638 ha and increase its Wilderness Quality Standard.
Over the last several decades, Ali Botush Wilderness has been protecting a wide spectrum of mountain forest habitats and very rich flora and fauna. A wide variety of habitats are present along an elevation gradient.
The area contains plant species that are found both in Mediterranean evergreen forest biome and simultaneously also in temperate forest biome.
At the lowest elevation, forests are dominated by beech, hornbeam and sweet chestnut. Higher up, there is a coniferous belt with species like black pine and Bulgarian fir, as well as Bosnian pine which is climbing high up to the current tree line.
The area is home to over 1 500 vascular plants and more than 20 Bulgarian endemics species. The area provides a safe refuge for a number of larger mammals such as brown bear, wolf, chamois, roe deer, badger and golden jackal.
Ali Botush Wilderness is located in the remote roadless corner of Slavyanka mountain range. From a touristic point of view, only a part of the Wilderness can be explored on foot following two marked hiking trails leading to the remote and otherwise inaccessible mountains. After passing the Wilderness and reaching the tree line, the trails offer extraordinary panoramic view to the Wilderness and surrounding mountains particularly along the Bulgarian-Greek border. The trails offer a variety of interesting activities like hiking, wildlife watching, rare plants sightings and first and foremost exploration of a unique Bosnian pine forest. Also, there is a good system of information boards at the trailhead offering maps and basic information.
The Archipelago WILDCoast is located at the edge of open Baltic Sea. It is a unique example of a large contiguous marine WILDCoast without any extractive use already for several decades. The WILDCoast is closed for visitors (no-go zone).
Velino Wilderness Candidate
Velino Wilderness joined the European Wilderness Network in 2018. It is embedded into the Sirente Velino Natural Park, Italy, which is situated in the Abruzzo Region of Central Italy. Velino Wilderness contains Apennine beech forests with alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands, and several endemic plant species.
The 1 450 ha Darvaika Wilderness is embedded in Synevyr National Nature Park, Ukraine. The Darvaika Wilderness is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe. The Wilderness represents an example of undisturbed old-growth mixed forests (beech, maple, fir, spruce and remnants of mugo pine), and provides a safe refuge for populations of all Carpathian carnivores such as brown bear, wolf, wildcat and lynx.
Maramarosh Wilderness represents an outstanding example of undisturbed old-growth mixed forest (beech, fir and spruce) and rare fragments of subalpine and alpine habitats (tree line with mugo pine, alder and rhododendron), which are characteristic for the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes. It is an area of great international importance and a local hotspot for biodiversity, which is dependent on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics.
Chornyy Dil Wilderness
Chornyy Dil Wilderness is embedded in the Synevyr National Nature Park, Ukraine. Chornyy Dil Wilderness preserves large areas of unique old-growth broadleaf and conifer forest and a natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes. The Synevyr National Nature Park has good potential to expand Chornyy Dil Wilderness, which is an area with no roads and is without any management intervention.
The Thaya WILDRiver is a segment of the Thaya river and spans a length of over 2 kilometres, linking the Thayatal WILDForest and the Podyjí Wilderness. The Thaya WILDRiver is characterised by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as meanders and alluvial plains around the river Thaya.
The Thayatal WILDForest is characterised by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as rocky amphitheatres, cliffs and broadleaf mixed forest. The Thayatal WILDForest is and has been the key element and driving force behind the establishment of the transboundary Wilderness of the Podyjí National Park in Czech Republic and Thayatal National Park in Austria.
The Fulufjället Wilderness is embedded in Fulufjället National Park, Sweden. Located at the border with Norway, Fulufjället Wilderness is a virtually untouched Scandinavian nature area. Fulufjället Wilderness is named after the mountain Fulufjället, which is 1 044 m high. It covers the Swedish part of the Fulufjället massif, which is the southernmost part of the Scandes in Sweden. The Norwegian part of the massif is protected by Norway’s Fulufjellet National Park.
The Teiču Wilderness is embedded into the Teiču Strict Nature Reserve. Teiču Reserve is the largest nature reserve in Latvia and it is one of the largest areas of intact bog moss in the Baltic. Teiču Wilderness protects a large complex, representing valuable ecosystems of wetlands and forest. Teiču Wilderness is one of four strict nature reserves in Latvia and is well known due to the high species diversity.
Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness
The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness is part of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The area preserves the largest area of unique old-growth beech forest of Europe and the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes. Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness represents an outstanding example of undisturbed temperate beech forests and provides a sample of the pure stands of European beech.
Velyka Uholka WILDRiver
The Velyka Uholka WILDRiver is embedded in the Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Ukraine. The Velyka Uholka WILDRiver, together with the small tributary Yavoronskyy Stream, is a typical mountain river with the extraordinary scenery and is surrounded by undisturbed temperate beech forests.
The Podyjí Wilderness is embedded in the Podyjí National Park, Czech Republic. It is the smallest National Park in the Czech Republic and located in the south-eastern part of the country, at the border with Thayatal National Park in Austria. Podyjí National Park has a good potential for expansion of Wilderness. A significant part of the Podyjí National Park is covered with forests and considerable percentage is currently left to spontaneous development.
The Olanga WILDRiver is embedded in the Paanajärvi Wilderness and in Paanajärvi National Park, Russia. The Olanga WILDRiver is characterized by an extraordinary scenery, with the well-known Kivakkakoski rapids. There are altogether 13 rapids on the river from lake Paanajärvi to Pyaozero lake. The Olanga WILDRiver is the key element and driving force behind the establishment of the Paanajärvi National Park and later on the transboundary protected area: the Paanajärvi National Park in Russia and Oulanka National Park in Finland.
The Oulanka WILDRiver spans over a length of 26 kilometres and is embedded in the Oulanka Wilderness and in Oulanka National Park, Finland. The Oulanka WILDRiver is characterized by an extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as spruced flood-lands, pine stands growing on sandy soil and hills covered by dwarfed tundra vegetation.
Mala Uholka WILDRiver
The Mala Uholka WILDRiver spans over a length of 7 kilometres and is embedded in the Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Ukraine. The Mala Uholka WILDRiver, together with the small tributaries Buchmonskyy Stream and Plosnyy Stream, is a mountain river with the typical extraordinary scenery and is surrounded by undisturbed temperate beech forests.
The Kitka WILDRiver is embedded in the Oulanka Wilderness and in Oulanka National Park, Finland. The Kitka WILDRiver is characterized by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as spruced flood-lands, pine stands growing on sandy soil and past hills covered by dwarfed tundra vegetation.
The Gorgany Wilderness is part of the Gorgany Nature Reserve. This area preserves the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes, typical natural complexes, unique primeval beech forests, and in particular forest with Swiss pine (Pinus cembra).
Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver
The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver is embedded in the Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Ukraine. The Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver, together with the tributary Tarsovskyy Stream, Polonskyy Stream and Bradul Stream, is a mountain river with an extraordinary scenery and is surrounded by undisturbed temperate beech forests.
The 5,251 ha Kalkalpen WILDForest consists of four areas (Hintergebirge, Bodinggraben, Urlach, Wilder Graben) with highly valuable beech forests that are embedded within the boundaries of the Kalkalpen Wilderness. The Kalkalpen WILDForest is a hotspot for biodiversity, depending on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics and is an important reference area for comparisons with managed forest.
The Hoverla Wilderness is part of Carpathian National Nature Park. The area preserves the natural state of the Carpathian mountain landscapes and large complexes of unique mixed and conifer forests with presence of the large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx). Carpathian National Nature Park includes 3 large Wilderness, which qualify to become a member of European Wilderness Network: Hoverla Wilderness, Pip Ivan Wilderness and Siniak Wilderness.
Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest
The Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest is partially embedded in the Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness and in Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park, Ukraine. Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest preserves the natural state of the beech forest in the central part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains. Zacharovanyy kray WILDForest is committed to protect self-regulated natural processes, and has been for several years.
Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness
The Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness is embedded in the Zacharovanyy kray National Nature Park, Ukraine. Ukraine contains excellent examples of Wilderness. Zacharovanyy kray Wilderness preserves the natural state of the beech forest in the central part of the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and is committed to protect self-regulated natural processes for several years.
The 162 ha Vilm WILDIsland is part of South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve, Germany. Vilm WILDIsland is covered by old broadleaf forests with small lagoons, sandy beaches and attractive coastal features. Since 1990 it is part of the core zones of the South East Rügen Biosphere Reserve. The ancient forests on Vilm WILDIsland have never been managed by forestry. The strictly protected WILDIsland Vilm with a non-intervention management has developed in natural succession for many decades.
The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is embedded in the Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness and in Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. The Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is an hotspot for biodiversity, depending on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The old-growth forests of Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest is an important reference area for comparisons with managed forest. Europe.
The Soomaa Wilderness is embedded into the Soomaa National Park, located in the south-eastern corner of Estonia. Soomaa Wilderness consist of four large peat-bogs: Kuresoo, Valgeraba, Ordi and Kikerpera. The bogs are separated from each other by the Pärnu, Halliste, Navesti, Raudna, Lemmjõgi, and Kõpu rivers. Alongside these rivers, floodplain meadows and floodplain forests occur.
The Rila Wilderness is embedded in the Rila National Park, the largest national park in Bulgaria. The park is located in the south-western part of the country. Rila Wilderness is one of the largest and most valuable Wilderness areas in Europe. It includes four large Wilderness areas – Parangalica, Central Rila Reserve, Ibar and Skakavitsa. Rila Wilderness covers a large part of the Rila mountain range with high peaks, deep valleys, forests and mountain pastures.
The Retezat Wilderness is embedded in the Retezat National Park, the oldest national park in Romania. The Retezat Wilderness protects one of the last remaining pristine part of Carpathian Mountains and is also an important model to protect Wilderness all over the Carpathians. It was first audited in 2004. This Retezat Wilderness is protecting an intact primeval forest and landscape modelling by glaciers in the past.
The Dyje WILDRiver is embedded in the Podyjí Wilderness. The Podyjí Wilderness is part of the Podyjí National Park, Czech Republic and is characterised by extraordinary scenery, being home to features such as rocky amphitheatres, cliffs, meanders or alluvial plains around the river.
The Peneda-Gerês Wilderness is embedded into the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal. The Peneda-Gerês National Park was created in 1971 due to its national and international scientific values, with the aim to protect the existing human and natural resources. Since its establishment, it has been acknowledged as the wildest area of Portugal.
The Paanajärvi Wilderness is embedded in the Paanajärvi National Park, Russia. Paanajärvi Wilderness is located right at the Arctic Circle and preserves the representative examples of natural values of the whole Karelia region, at the Finnish–Russian border. The boreal forests with lakes reach into far horizons with no sign of human presence, any roads or towns. The Paanajärvi Wilderness and Olanga WILDRiver create a great example of pristine and remote Wilderness.
The 12 924 ha Oulanka Wilderness is embedded in the Oulanka National Park, Finland. The Oulanka National Park is located close to the Arctic Circle at the border with Russia. The park is traversed by two large rivers flowing east, the Rivers Oulankajoki and Kitkajoki with several tributaries, such as the Rivers Maaninkajoki and Savinajoki. Oulanka Wilderness is separated in three sections by the management, which are not ecologically fragmented: Border Zone (2 200 ha), Main Section (10 724 ha), and Sukerijärvi (2 103 ha).
Oulanka Wilderness is located in a Reindeer Husbandry Area. The traditional Finnish concept of everyman’s right and reindeer husbandry significantly impacted the identification of the Wilderness in Oulanka National Park. The everyman’s right concept allows free right of access to the land and waterways, and the right to collect natural products such as wild berries and mushrooms, no matter who owns the land. These rights also generally apply to foreign citizens. The overall frame of everyman’s right is that all actions must be harmless to nature and landowner. In 2007, the Oulanka Wilderness Program identified the Oulanka Wilderness, fitting to the European Wilderness Quality Standard and guaranteed an ecological link with Paanajärvi Wilderness at the Russian side of border.
The 12 924 ha Oulanka Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.
Oulanka is full of versatile and demanding plant species and partly due to calcium-rich bedrock there are many rare species. The difference in temperature between the high rising fells and low river valleys make an ideal environment for several rare plants like the park’s emblem: the calypso. Another threatened plant, but common in this area is silene or lady’s-slipper. In Oulanka’s meadows, you may catch a glimpse of the endangered Copper Violet Butterfly. Riverbeds and alluvial meadows are home to rare butterflies and 100 bird species nest in the park. Rare birds like the Siberian Jay and the Capercaillie also take refuge in these herb-rich forests. The area hosts several large herbivores like the moose and the half-tame reindeer. Smaller mammals are also typical in the area. Of the large carnivores, the bear inhabits Oulanka National Park. The wolf, wolverine and lynx, however, are quite rare. In the Wilderness, the golden eagle and the white-tailed eagle are common.
Attractions that offer unforgettable experiences in unspoilt Oulanka Wilderness play a vital role in the context of increases in nature tourism, summer tourism, and the importance of European Wilderness. Discover the boreal forests alone or with a group and find yourself amazed by it pure beauty. The Russian frontier runs along the eastern edge of Oulanka National Park, and just over the border lies the Russia’s Paanajärvi National Park, representing huge potential for cross-border nature tourism. Oulanka National Park already collaborates closely with its twin park Paanajärvi.
Address street: Oulangan luontokeskus, Liikasenvaarantie 132
Postal code city: 93900, Kuusamo, Finland
Phone: +358 206 39 6850
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The Majella Wilderness is embedded into the Majella National Park, Italy. The Majella Wilderness is home to an amazingly large and rich Wilderness. It is including the most inaccessible and wildest areas of the Central Apennine.
The Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is embedded in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, located in western Ukraine. The Carpathian Biosphere Reserve includes several large WILDForests. The Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is a hotspot for biodiversity, depending on spontaneous natural processes and ecosystem dynamics. The old-growth forests of Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest is an important reference area for comparisons with managed forests.
The Küre Wilderness is embedded in the Küre Mountains National Park, located in northern Turkey. The park stretches over the mountain range of Küre Mountains and is extend over the Kastamonu and Bartin Province. The Küre Wilderness is well-known in Turkey because of its intact forests, wildlife, endemic plant species, caves, canyons, and waterfalls. The Küre Wilderness is also globally important for nature conservation. It is one of the 9 forest hot spots in Turkey with its natural values, Wilderness, geological features, landscape and cultural values.
Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness
The Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness is a large coherent nature conservation area, which provides good conditions for a re-naturalization of previous military training grounds with a potential to become a prime Wilderness in Germany. The Königsbrücker Heide Wilderness has not actively been managed for more than 15 years. It provides a unique experience of natural spontaneous dynamics and implementation of non-intervention management.
The Kalkalpen Wilderness is embedded in the Kalkalpen National Park, Austria. Kalkalpen National Park is a large protected area, located in the north-eastern Limestone Alps in Upper Austria. Kalkalpen Wilderness features the largest forest region in central Europe and the largest karst in Austria. It is a colourful mosaic consisting of pristine forests, hidden gorges and untouched mountain streams.
The Jasmund WILDCoast is embedded into the core zone of Jasmund National Park, Germany. Jasmund National Park is an iconic national park in Germany due to its magnificent scenery of the stunning coastline. The Jasmund WILDCoast is a compact and complete ecosystem of chalk cliffs, a sea coast, and a narrow strip of sea. “Let nature be nature” is the main slogan of Jasmund National Park.
Hohe Tauern Wilderness
The Hohe Tauern Wilderness is located in the south-western part of National Park Hohe Tauern, Austria. The Hohe Tauern Wilderness is a landscape as it used to be all over the Alps after the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. It is a large contiguous piece of Wilderness and it includes several important habitats types, such as abandoned alpine pastures, bare rocks, glaciers and freshly exposed land after glacier retreat.
The Hainich WILDForest is embedded into the Hainich National Park, Germany. The Hainich National Park was founded in 1997. Over 90% of Hainich National Park is not in economic use, where nature is returning to its roots. In contrast to economic forests, the woodland in Hainich WILDForest may develop back, untouched, into a primeval woodland in the heart of Germany.
The Čepkeliai Wilderness is embedded in the Dzūkija National Park and Čepkeliai Strict Nature Reserve, Lithuania. Čepkeliai Wilderness is the largest contiguous piece of Wilderness in Lithuania consisting of two areas: Čepkeliai and Musteika Strict Nature Reserves. It is located in the south-eastern corner of Lithuania and forms one ecological complex, representing the most valuable ecosystems of wetlands and surrounding forests, at the border with Belarus.
The Borjomi-Kharagauli Wilderness is embedded in the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia. It is a extensive mountain area of Lesser Caucasus with conifer and evergreen old-growth forest, high number of rare and endemic species such as bear, wolf, imperial eagle. The Wilderness provides a wide spectrum of unique and dynamic ecosystems.
Central Balkan Wilderness
The 20,019 ha Central Balkan Wilderness is embedded in the Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria. Central Balkan Wilderness is covering 28% of park territory and consist of the following 9 strict nature reserves: Boatin, Tsarichina, Kozya Stena, Steneto, Severen Dzendem, Peesti, Sokolna, Dzendema and Stara Reka. In Central Balkan Wilderness, a non-intervention management is applied as the underlying principle for Wilderness stewardship.