The Natural Heritage Foundation, an IUCN Member, plays a key role in developing the protected areas network in the Carpathians. It supports the creation of the Turnicki National Park in the Polish Carpathians and works actively to conserve the biodiversity of this area.
The Polish part of the Carpathian range has very low population density, especially in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border. Because of its turbulent history, this bordering area hosts the largest aggregation of relict Carpathian virgin forest in the Polish Carpathians. Its beech-fir forests have been inaccessible for thousands of years as they are characterised by deep ravines and large trunks of dead wood. Such features have helped many species – extremely rare or extinct in other countries of Europe – to survive.
Apart from species of insects, moss and lichens – which are indication of the relict forest type, animals like wolves, lynx and bears live in these areas. In the vicinity of the planned national park, eight nests of Golden Eagle have been found – which accounts for one third of total Polish population of this species.
The Natural Heritage Foundation has been supporting the creation of a national park in this area. The Turnicki National Park would give refuge to its species and help ensure their conservation.
The process for the creation of a national park in the Polish legal system is quite complex. In the particular case of the Turnicki National Park, this process has lasted for already over 30 years. While waiting for this process to come to an end and the area to be recognized as national park, the Natural Heritage Foundation develops short-term conservation measures for the species and habitats. It currently focuses on identifying the most valuable fragments of the forest and establishing nature reserves to protect them.
This area is marginalized, rarely populated and relatively poor and in order to involve local communities in nature conservation-related actions, the Foundation is implementing projects for the development of eco-tourism, as well as ecological agriculture, bee keeping and traditional products.