Yalta Mountain Forest Reserve – Explore Caves, Craters and Waterfalls

Ukraine is a country that is biologically rich in flora and fauna occupying landscapes of varying types, from rocky mass areas to mountainous regions. This has led to large-scale biodiversity conservation in an attempt to preserve natural habitats for future use, unchanged by human destruction and pollution.

The Yalta Mountain Forest Reserve was established in 1973, covering a large area of land ranging from the Aiya Cape, along the Black Sea coast, to the mountainous region called Ayu-Dag. The Yalta Mountain Reserve was first formed in an attempt to provide protection specifically to forest ecosystems that occur naturally in the mountains. These forests are usually made up of trees like the beech, oak, juniper, hornbeam and the Crimean pine.

The Yalta Reserve has a strip of forest that is approximately ten kilometers long by four kilometers wide that covers a substantial area. The forest stretches from the coast of the Black Sea all the way up to the Golovnyi range of Crimean mountains and comes under the control of the State Committee of Forestry. Apart from the forests the Yalta Forest Reserve has crystal clear waterfalls, rocks and craters to climb over and caves waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by all.

The Yalta forests have been closely examined in an attempt to record the distribution of Ascomycetes in specifically pine and beech tree forests. The results have been interesting with over nineteen new species of Ascomycetes having been found for the first time in the Crimea region. In general the species of Ascomycetes that prevails the most in the area includes the Diatrypales, Xylariales and Diaportale species. Included in this is a total of fifty species that have been found generally on dry stems, pieces of plants and on twigs making up seventeen families, seven orders all belonging to thirty-two genera.

The Yalta Mountain Forest Reserve has recently experienced some changes that have been in the pipeline for over thirty years. The Yalta authorities are taking fifteen hectares of land in order to develop a rubbish recycling plant that will service the Yalta and other surrounding areas. With the removal of fifteen hectares of land means that the Reserve will experience border changes redefining the protected piece of land.

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