Ukraine has named 11 new Wetlands of International Importance (“Ramsar Sites”). It now has 50 in total, covering an area of over 800,000 hectares.
Dnister River Valley (Site no. 2388) in western Ukraine is a biodiversity hotspot, with a combination of diverse rare wetland habitat types, floodplain vegetation communities and a large number of nationally threatened species. The Site is the most important wintering place for waterbirds in the upper and middle stretches of the River.
The neighbouring Burshtyn Water Reservoir (Site no. 2393) was constructed in 1965 to cool a thermal power plant. It does not freeze over during winter, and so is favoured by foraging and wintering birds; the construction of an artificial island in the reservoir should provide more breeding and roosting areas for birds during migration periods.
Liadova-Murafa (Site no. 2387) on the border with Moldova, consists of a section of the Dnister River with its tributaries and forested areas along the river valley. It is an important stopover and breeding site for birds; it is also rich in fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
A number of the Sites are found in the Ukrainian Carpathians. Nadsiannia Raised Bog (Site no. 2392) is one of the largest remaining raised bogs of the mountain range, and among the few pristine examples with no visible human impacts. Due to its location in a north-south pass in the Carpathians, the Site plays an important role as a transnational ecological corridor and is extremely important for migrations and dispersions of land animals.
Black Bog (Site no. 2389) contains the largest peat deposit of all of the Ukrainian Carpathians, up to six metres deep in the thickest part. The Site contains five different species of sphagnum moss, two of which are very rare in Central Europe. It also supports the spawning of rare amphibians, such as the nationally vulnerable Carpathian newt (Lissotriton montadoni), fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) and yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata).
Prut River Headwaters (Site no. 2395) is a collection of peat bogs, lakes, streams, watercourses, riparian zones and centuries-old forests in the Chornohora range of the Carpathians. The Site provides habitat to 35 nationally threatened species, of which 23 are globally threatened.
Also in the Chornohora range, Ozirnyi-Brebeneskul (Site no. 2394) is a highland wetland composed of a dense river network, several large lakes of glacial origin, marshlands, swamps and peatlands. The glacial lakes are the largest and deepest of the Ukranian Carpathians.
Nearby, the Pohorilets River Headwaters (Site no. 2397) is a biodiversity hotspot, with 500 vascular plant species and 90 vertebrate species found within its boundaries. Many of them are listed as threatened, and a great number are endemic to the Eastern Carpathian biogeographic region. The Site is especially important for the critically endangered European mink.
Narcissi Valley (Site no. 2390) contains the largest Central European population of narrow-leaved narcissus (Narcissus poeticus L.). The Site is also the only massive nesting site for corncrake (Crex crex) in the region, and contains up to 120 nests. During the blossoming season in May, the Site becomes very popular for tourists, with an average of 50,000 visitors per year.
Romania-Friendship Cave (Site no. 2396) is the biggest cave formation in the Ukranian Carpathians, and it is a very important hibernation refuge for 14 different species of bats, 12 of which are listed as threatened in Ukraine’s Red List. The Site is also home to several endemic troglobite invertebrate species, some of which were first discovered in the cave.
Atak – Borzhavske (Site no. 2391), close to the borders with Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, is the only pristine ancient floodplain oak-ash forest in Ukraine, and one of the largest of Central Europe, where natural flooding processes can still be found. The combination of forest, river and floodplain ecosystems makes the Site important for biodiversity: it supports around 300 vascular plant species, 40 mammals, 77 birds, five reptiles, ten amphibians, and 30 fish.
Ukraine celebrated the designation of the new Sites during the National Ramsar Committee meeting in Kiev, where Ramsar Site diplomas were passed on to local managers. The Secretariat of the Convention participated remotely.