‘Statute on Forests’, the oldest document for environmental protection in the Austrian empire, came into force from the effective date of January 1, 1853 and concerned preservation of woodlands in Galicia, which was the part of that empire together with Prykarpattia (Precarpathian land).
The very first paragraph of this historic document forbade categorically the reduction of woodland areas.
Irrespective of that, areas of Galicia covered with forest shrank for 200,000 hectares in course of the 19th century.
This can be explained by insufficient control for forest cutting. The headquarters of the responsible agenciy were quite remote, in Lviv, being founded only in 1872.
Just when the importance of woods intensified, first four (in 1884) and then eight forest inspectors were appointed to work in Galicia; another two forest inspectors and six district rangers appeared in Eastern Carpathians in 1906. Forest police was intoduced in 1904.
Anyway, the first paragraph of the ‘Statute on Forests’ turned out hard to observe, as on the dawn of the 20th century normal functioning of forest management was possible to maintain only on 57% of area covered with forests in Galicia.
Alongside with woodland conservation, the first endeavours were undertaken to protect particular species of animals and plants endangered of extinction as well as remarkable objects of wild nature and relief. Forest conservation being the responsibility of governmental agencies, differect public organizations and even separate private persons made their great contribution into the protection of environment in its general sense.
The one who was the first to pursue the issues of environmental protection with impressive effectiveness and amplitude was zoologist A. Novitskyi, the professor of Yagailon university in Krakiv, who designed the project of relevant statute under the date of July 11, 1869. However, the officials of Galicia did nothing to exercise this statute, in fact. That very activity that was carried out for conservation of environment in Galicia was the exclusive merit of members of physical geographical Committee of the Academy, Tatran community in Krakiv and the Copernicus Community of Prirodniky (Nature-lovers) in Lviv.
At the dawn of the 20th century some governmental penalties were inflicted. For instance, the rescript under the date of November 30, 1903 by the Ministry of Education in Vienna delegated the environment protection to governmental officials. Responsive to this, Galicia vicegerency in Lviv addressed to institutions and citizens of Galicia and appealed to report about all remarkable and securable natural objects. This happened in February, 1904.
The Copernicus Community of Prirodniky (Nature-lovers) in Lviv directed the list containing several dozens of objects in the Carpathians and Podillia to the vicegerency, while the head of Tovarystwo Rybacke (Fishermen Community) in Krakiv delivered the lists of 226 natural objects from the whole Galicia in fifteen letters during the period of 1906-1913. Nevertheless, even though the officials had received those messages, they did not take any relevant administrative measures.
Therefore, entire responsibility for the environmental conservation and protection in 1906-1914 was overtaken by the devotees from the Nature-lovers Community who managed to work out a plan for nature conservation in 1907-1907 which was adopted by the 10th Congress of doctors and natural historians of Galicia on July 22, 1907. The pages of ‘Kosmos’ (‘Space’) and ‘Silvan’ magazines began to be systematically supplied with environment-related articles and notifications.
The fifteenth of November in 1910 was marked with the speech dedicated to importance of environmental protection by Yu. Brunitskyi before the ambassadors of the Seym Krajovui (local parliament). He was the one who entered the claim to found reservations and nature parks in Galicia. Anyway, nothing had been done for this purpose up to the World War I.
It has been already mentioned that only initial attempts were made till 1918 concerning the issues of security of particular natural objects, let alone the general improvement of environmental situation. For example, consider such localities as Chornohora or yew forest in Kniazhydvora. First mentions of this Kniazhydvora yew forest in the stow of Spovz refer to V. Skavt in 1918. Since then, Ya. Lomnitskiy wrote about it in 1900. In two years thereafter, the yew forest was visited by H. Honsiorovskii, who succeeded to prevent it from being cut out in 1913 with the help of the Nature-lovers Community. Just before the War the Kniazhydvora yew forest was visited by a number of researchers and, particularly, V. Shafer, who published an opinion (‘Silvan’ magazine) about the need to create a reservation in that locality. Such interest for Chornohora as a natural object worth of protection arose since 1910, when the Ministry of field-husbandry and state property delegated the Forestry Board in Lviv with the task to detect natural objects which could be referred to as reservations in the future. The Board started cooperation with communities concerned. With their errand V. Shafer visited the forest in 1914 and revised some part of woods in the Vorokhta ranger district yet did not form any ultimate conclusion on creation of Chornohora reservation.
It was just only after the visit of two high-rank officials from the Department of forestry of the Ministry of field-husbandry and state property in Varshava when the latter issued the decree under the date of October 29, 1921 to fence 447 hectares of woods and meadows in Chornohora thereabouts which was factually the beginning of that reservation.
Similar one was created in Kniazhydvora (area of 94.1 ha). The relevant decree expanded the area of Chornohora reservation to 1,512 hectares with 907 ha being assigned the category of absolute reservation. Just in the 30s began the real foundation of a public park on Chornohora.
Aimed at preservation of unique Ukrainian mountain landscapes the Council of Public Commissars of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic ordered to introduce state preservations of ‘Chornohora’ (68,000 ha) and ‘Gorgany’ (50,000 ha) in the former Stanislav region (since 1962 and up to now - Ivano-Frankivsk region) in 1940.
Unfortunately, further work was interrupted by the War. On March 15, 1949 the Ministry of Forestry of USSR imposed a decree maintaining that principal areas of beech, fir and spruce and spruce virgin forests in the upstream of Prut on the flanks of Goverla, Breskul and Homul were classified as valuable woodland with the area of four thousand hectares which though remains in the second forest group.
In 1955, the Executive Board of Stanislav Regional Council of People’s Deputies of the working class rendered a resolution about classifying another 13,901 hectares of woodland in Diliatyn silviculture husbandry as the first group forests. Peculiarly important was the hydrologic and protective function of virgin forests in Chornohora thereabouts. With the purpose of preservation of these woods the Stanislav regional Executive Board resolved to classify the valuable woodland of Chornohora (Goverla ranger district of Diliatyn silviculture husbandry) as a conservation park.
Great work was accomplished by the Commission of Environmental Protection of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR to improve the conservation issue in the Carpathians. Thereby similarly contributed plenty of establishments, namely Moscow Community of Nature Explorers, Central Laboratory of Environment Protection by the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR. The Ukrainian institutions also took part in that noble affair, such as the Commission for Environment Protection by the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, which became the base for the special expedition arranged in 1955.
The most valuable (from the perspective of environmental conservation) ecosystems of Chorohora and other regions were explored; this resulted in a suggestion to make 40-50 thousand hectares in Chornohora the central solid wood of the Carpathian conservation park.
The enhancement of environmental protection became topical of the scientific papers by several researches, for example, S.M. Stoiko in 1957, E.M. Lavrenko in 1958 and others.
In 1967, the Presidium of Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic formed the State committee of the Cabinet Council of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic dedicated to nature conservation. In a short time that committee theoretically justified the need of foundation of four conservation parks in Ukraine, the Carpathian Park inclusive. Those parks were legally approved together with the Carpathian Park with the area of 12,672 hectares.
In 1980, in accordance with the Provision of the Cabinet Council of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic The Carpathian state nature-oriented national park was founded with the area of 50,3 thousand hectares.