Delayed award ceremony for Ukrainian virgin forest conservationist

EuroNatur honoured the Ukrainian forest scientist and conservationist Fedir Hamor with the EuroNatur Award in 2022 for his services to forest conservation. Fedir Hamor could not attend the award ceremony on the island of Mainau at the time due to the war situation in Ukraine. He has now been retrospectively presented with the EuroNatur Award.

Delayed award ceremony

Award ceremony made up for: Thomas Potthast (left) and Hannes Knapp (right) award the EuroNatur Award 2022 to Fedir Hamor.

© Gabriel Schwaderer
Natural Forest in the Ukrainian Carpathians

There are still natural and old-growth forests in the Romanian Carpathians around the Svydovets massif. But this natural treasure is endangered.

© Gabriel Schwaderer

EuroNatur President Prof Dr Thomas Potthast presented Fedir Hamor with the EuroNatur Award at a ceremony in Rakiv, a city in the Ukrainian oblast of Transcarpathia, on 29 April. "It is a great honour and a great pride not only for me but also for Ukraine to be among the many outstanding personalities who have been awarded this prize for their personal or political commitment in the field of environmental protection,“ said Fedir Hamor.

The three EuroNatur representatives, President Prof Dr Thomas Potthast, Executive Committee member Prof Dr Hannes Knapp and Executive Director Gabriel Schwaderer, used the occasion to gain an overview of the nature conservation situation in the Ukrainian Carpathian Forest. The situation for the local protected areas - including the important Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, which is also home to the largest component of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Ancient Beech Forests of Europe’ - is very difficult, particularly due to the Russian war against Ukraine. Important transfer payments from the Ministry of the Environment in Kyiv have not materialised for months, making targeted nature conservation work in the Carpathian Forest even more difficult.

The programme also included a meeting with activists from the Free Svydovets network. The movement, Fedir Hamor, and the German climate and forest conservationist Antje Grothus were also awarded the EuroNatur Award in 2022. The meeting focussed on the consequences of the planned mega ski project in the immediate vicinity of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve.

The Svydovets ski resort is intended to attract masses of people to the fragile mountain world and offer 50,000 beds; almost 3,000 hectares of land are to be used and more than 400 kilometres of ski slopes built (for comparison: Sölden in Tyrol has around 150 kilometres of slopes and 15,000 guest beds). Over 1,200 hectares of forest are to be cleared or massively impaired for the ski resort, half of which is precious natural and old-growth forest. "The planned ski resort would encroach on existing nature conservation areas under national and international law. The impact on the Emerald areas protected by the Bern Convention would be severe,“ says EuroNatur Executive Director Gabriel Schwaderer. "The construction of this mega project must be prevented.“

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