Central Europe Review find out about advertising in CER
Vol 3, No 14
23 April 2001
front page 
our awards 
CER cited 
jobs at CER 
CER Direct 
e-mail us 
year 2000 
year 1999 
by subject 
by author 
EU Focus 
music shop 
video store 
find books 


The National Parks and Biosphere Reserves in Carpathians: The Last Nature Paradise
Ivan Vološčuk, ed
ACANAP Tatranská Lomnica, 1999

Antonín Buček

In their English monograph, Ivan Vološčuk and a large group of authors present to Europe and the world the national parks and biosphere reserves of the Carpathians as the last natural paradise. An introductory chapter by Vološčuk, in which he provides an overview of the Carpathians, is followed by 28 chapters that are devoted to individual protected areas in five countries.

Photo: Karin Steinbrueck
Each chapter deserves its own analysis, but the space available permits me only to give an overview of the national parks (NP) and biosphere reserves (BR) as well as other protected areas according to individual countries: Hungary—Aggtelek (NP and BR), Bukk (NP), Duna-Ipoly (NP); Slovakia—Tatry (NP and BR), Pieneny (NP), Nízké Tatry (NP), Slovenský raj (NP), Malá Fatra (NP), Muránska Planina (NP), Poloniny (NP and BR), Slovenský kras (BR), Polanina (BR), Dobročský prales, Badínský prales, and the proposed national parks Velká Fatra and Horní Orava; Poland—Pieniny (NP) Tatry (NP and BR), Gorce (NP), Magura (NP); Ukraine—Karpatskij zapovidnik (BR), Carpathian National Nature Park (NPP), Sinevir (NPP), Vizhnitskij (NPP), Uzhanskij (NPP), Romania—Retezat (NP).

The individual chapters have been written by highly qualified experts, all of them employees of nature protection areas of the individual countries. The editor has managed to achieve the unbelievable: despite the large number of authors, to maintain a common approach in almost all of the chapters.

They begin with a brilliant photograph of the landscape, which is supplemented by one key species of flower or animal and the protected area's logo. This is followed by a map with sociological zonations and a text that is divided into three sections: Nature, People and Nature, and Nature Conservation. Within a short space the authors have managed to present the chief characteristics of the individual protected areas. Overall, the monograph provides a unique collection of information about the natural environment of the Carpathians, about the influence of human beings and on the history and current state of nature conservation.

The graphic layout of the book is especially attractive and clear for the reader; among the features contributing to easy orientation is the different colored paper, which is used to differentiate the protected areas of different countries. The color photographs (from 36 photographers!) have been well-selected and the printing is excellent (Tlačiareň a vzdavatelĺestvo SLZA, Poprad). I have to admit that it took me a long time to page through and read the book, because the photographs and texts attracted me to those areas I already know and those I have yet to visit.

Send this article to a friend

I think that this book will go down in the history of European nature conservation as a unique example of international cooperation in nature conservation at the end of the 20th century. For this reason, I am disappointed that it does not include the two Carpathian biosphere reserves in the Czech Republic—Pálava and Bílé Karpaty (White Carpathians). Although the map of Carpathian national parks and biosphere reserves on page 8 begins (or ends?) on the territory of the Czech Republic, it is as if the Moravian protected areas did not exist.

Furthermore, the text notes that the Western Carpathians are "spread over the territory of Bohemia..." (p 9). The translator should note that the most western reaches of the Carpathian range lie in Moravia, which is now a part of the Czech Republic. The Moravian areas that have been omitted do not lessen the value of this publication, but rather present a challenge to Moravian nature conservationists to become actively involved in international cooperation in the Carpathians so that in future they cannot be overlooked.

I propose to the editor that he consider publishing a chapter about both Moravian biosphere reserves in the Carpathians as a supplement, thus bringing the work to full perfection.

Antonín Buček, 23 April 2001

Antonín Buček is professor of forestry at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. This review article first appeared in the January 2001 issue of VERONICA (vol. 15/no.1), the bi-monthly magazine of Czech nature conservationists, published since 1986. Contact information: www.veronica.cz, veronica@ecn.cz.

Translation by Andreas Beckmann

Moving on:


Christopher Orlet
60 Years after the Jedwabne Pogrom

Ljubco Georgievski, Prime Minister of Macedonia

The Carpathians

Suzie Holt
Overview of the Region

Facts and Figures

Jaroslav Štika
What the Flock?

Brian J Požun
Warhol Nation

Andreas Beckmann
Tracking Wolves

Antonín Buček
National Parks

Andreas Beckmann
Public vs Private Forests

Tony Snape
Managing Resources

Andreas Beckmann
The Wolf as a Marker

Suzie Holt
Ecoregion Initiative

Wojtek Kość
Powerless Euroregion

Andreas Beckmann
Big Bad Wolf?

Suzie Holt
Carpathian Conference

Andrew James Horton
Jerzy Hoffman and Ogniem i mieczem

Wojtek Kość
Filip Bajon's Przedwiośnie

James Partridge
Sergei Paradzhanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Book Review:
David Graber
Fears and Symbols by Elemér Hankiss

Štěpán Kotrba
Sow and Reap

Brian J Požun
Shedding the Balkan Skin

Martin D Brown
Czech Historical Amnesia

Dejan Anastasijević (ed)
Out of Time

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungarian Oil Scandal

Sam Vaknin
After the Rain

Czech Republic

CER eBookclub Members enter here