Ukraine’s protected areas
in a time of war

Unique vegetation on chalk outcrops of an occupied national park in Ukraine’s Steppe landscape; habitat now rare in Europe.

A new

Ukraine’s wildlife is incredible: forests and grassland plains (steppes), wetlands and mountains, rocky habitats and caves, rivers and seas, floodplains and even a desert. Ancient and undisturbed (primary) forests are home to threatened species of plants and animals. And now people who have been forced to flee are finding shelter in some of the protected areas. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has already affected 900 protected areas.  With an area of 1.2 million hectares or 12,000km2 this is about a third of all Ukraine’s protected areas.  Many internationally important wildlife sites are threatened with destruction, including:

  • 14 internationally important wetlands or Ramsar sites, an area of almost 400,000 hectares or 4,000km2;  
  • 200 Emerald sites of European importance protected under the Bern Convention, with a staggering total area of 2.9 million hectares or 29,000km2; and
  • UNESCO Biosphere reserves.

WOW Nature is the voice of Ukraine’s nature in this time of war.  During this terrible time we will share how protected areas and their partners are making every effort to protect wildlife and human lives.

Protected areas in Ukraine affected by the war
Under threat of destruction
160 Emerald Network sites, totalling 2.9 million hectares
14 Ramsar sites, covering a total area of 397.7 thousand hectares
4 biosphere reserves
of all protected areas in Ukraine are affected by the war
millions hectares of protected areas suffer from the effects of war
protected areas under threat
15 k temporarily displaced people who have found shelter at protected areas
5 k employees whose work is ongoing in national parks and reserves

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