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Number of IPAs:173
Area of IPAs:1.3 million hectares
Biogeographical regions: Continental, Steppe, Alpine
173 Important Plant Areas (IPAs) have been identified in Ukraine as of 2021. Ukrainian IPAs cover 1.3 million ha, comprising 2.3% of the total area of Ukraine (with the Territorial sea).
The territory of Ukraine belongs to three biogeographical regions: Continental, Steppic, and Alpine. The Continental region includes the Polissian Lowland in the northern part of Ukraine, with large areas of sandy soils, Scots pine forests, oak forests, meadows, mires and swampy woods of different types. Natural vegetation of a more southern part of the continental region is oak, hornbeam, beech, and lime forests of plateaus, meadows in floodplains, pine and oak forests on sandy terraces of rivers. There are also small areas of the steppe vegetation confined mainly to the slopes of valleys and ravines. The Steppic biogeographical region comprises the southeastern part of Ukraine. It consists of the flatland part and the Crimean Mountains. Natural vegetation of the flatland part consists mainly of the steppe (2% of the region’s area in Ukraine), halophytic and coastal vegetation, oak and pine forests, and reed marshes. Vegetation of the Crimean Mountains has submediterranean features: there are white oak and juniper woodlands, tomillares, woods of Turkish pine and Pallas’ pine. Large areas are occupied by sessile oak, beech, hornbeam, ash forests, the steppe vegetation, and vegetation of outcrops. The Alpine biogeographical region includes the Carpathians. Largest areas are covered with beech, spruce and silver fir forests, hay meadows and pastures. Highest mountains have diverse subalpine and alpine vegetation.
Ukraine is one of the most anthropically transformed European countries because of the presence of large areas of plains with rich soils and a warm growing season. Arable lands occupy about 54% of the territory of Ukraine, other non-natural areas – 7%, semi-natural habitats (hay meadows, pastures, highly artificial forest plantations) – 14%, and natural habitats – 25%.
There are about 12,000 species of plants (including ca. 4,600 species of native vascular plants) and 15,000 species of fungi and fungi-like organisms in Ukraine. Most of endemic, rare, and threatened species of Ukraine occurs in mountainous regions of the Carpathians and Crimea. Many such species occur also on chalk outcrops of eastern Ukraine, granite outcrops of the Ukrainian Shield, sands of the steppe region, etc.
Some Ukrainian IPAs are large areas (up to 300 thousand ha); they are very important for conservation of one or many habitats. Often they also contain populations of many threatened species. Some other IPAs were designated for only one rare endemic or subendemic species occurring in small natural sites surrounded by transformed areas.
IPA Byriuchyi Ostriv, sand beach at the Sea of Azov by V.M. Kolomiychuk
IPA Skhidnyi Churiuk, feather grass steppe by V.M. Kolomiychuk
IPA Ubort-Bolotnytsia, wetlands by O.O.Orlov
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