Flora of the Gorgany Nature Reserve
Visiting our reserve is like appearing in the pages of the Red Book. After all, one fifth of all Red Book plants preserved in the Ukrainian Carpathians grow in our reserve. These are 34 species of higher vascular plants listed in the Red Book of Ukraine (2009). There are also 39 species of plants that are subject to protection at the regional level. A significant proportion of them is endemic (species found in small areas). These are Ranunculus carpaticus Holub, Melampyrum saxosum Baumg., Thymus alternans Klok, Phyteuma tetramerum L., etc.
Relict plants, flora representatives of ancient geological epochs, also grow in the reserve. In particular: the alpine clubmoss (Diphasiastrum alpinum (L.) Holub), Cystopteris sudetica A. Br. Et Milde, the stemless carline thistle (Carlina acaulis L.) and others.
The Gorgany Nature Reserve plays an important role in conservation of rare and endangered flora species. On its territory, there are species included in conservation lists of various levels – international, national, and regional. There are 2 species growing on the territory of the reserve, that are included in the Resolution No. 4 of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats; 1 species included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; 16 species listed in the Appendixes to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Forests and primeval forests
More than 85% of the reserve area is covered by forest vegetation. It is dominated by coniferous forests, while deciduous forests occupy only about 1% of the area. The largest massifs of the reserve are covered by forests with a predominating spruce (Picea abies) – 89.1%. Stands of the dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo) account fot 7.3%, the European cedar pine (Pinus cembra) –1.8%, the silver fir (Abies alba), the common beech (Fagus sylvatica) and other species cover 1.8% of the forested area. Spruce-fir (2,377.9 ha) and beech-fir-spruce (1,196.3 ha) stands are the most common. The highest beech, fir and spruce trees in the Ukrainian Carpathians are recorded here. In primeval forests they reach a height of 53 m and a diameter of over 160 cm; cedar reaches 34 m and has a diameter of 108 cm.
In the Gorgany, primeval forests have been preserved better than anywhere else in the Ukrainian Carpathians. They stand out for high vitality and stability. Primeval forests are rather large forest ecosystems (groupings) that have emerged and developed naturally under the influence of only natural forces and phenomena and have undergone a full cycle of development with no human intervention. In primeval forests, trees grow to their natural age limit, which is several hundred years. For primeval beech-fir-spruce, fir-beech and spruce forests, the age stage lasts 350-400 years, pure beech forests – 230-260 years, and cedar-spruce forests – about 300 years. In total, all primeval forests occupy an area of 2,112.2 hectares.
The European cedar pine (Pinus cembra), a symbol of the reserve, is a relict of the early Holocene. There are 2,300 cedar trees recorded, growing on stone runs, rising on Mount Dovbushanka up to 1,730 m above sea level. Primeval cedar ecosystems are protected as relict. Cedar supports the upper forest line and is suitable for afforestation of stone runs – gregoty.
32 species of bryophytes of different rarity categories are identified on the territory of the Gorgany Nature Reserve: 2 species are listed in the European Red List of mosses, 10 species are rare for Ukraine and 24 species are rare for the Carpathians. In total, the bryoflora here includes 231 species of mosses from two divisions: the Marchantiophyta and the Bryophyta.
Stone fields, gregoty, are densely covered with a thick multi-coloured “carpet” of mosses, many of which are rare: Cephalozia ambigua, Scapania mucronata, S. parvifolia, Splachnum ampullaceum.
On the territory of the reserve, 1 representative of lianas grows – the Alpine clematis (Atragene alpina Mill.). It can grow up to 3 metres in height. It has large leathery leaves and blue flowers with a white middle on long stems. It flowers in August.
In total, the flora of the Gorgany Nature Reserve includes 471 species of higher vascular plants, grouped into 270 genera and 79 families.
Red Book of Ukraine
Relict plants – the flora representatives of ancient geological epochs