Preservation of living witnesses of the history of Maramoroschyny

On August 5-7, 2021, an incredible team of Ukrainian arborists with the support of the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies, the Ecological Commission of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese [MGCD], and Huskvarna Ukraina LLC performed the second stage of the events of interest to preserve the old-centuries oaks of Kraynykovo village around Gothic churches of Archangel Michael of the 17th century in Khust region. Please be reminded that the first measures to preserve the unique habitat have taken place in May this year.

Based on the results of the first stage of work, the arborists drew up a plan of priority actions to ensure both the safety of the local population from the destruction of trees and the preservation of natural and architectural heritage for future generations. The Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies in cooperation with the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU) with the support of VGP FOUNDATION and the Ecological Commission of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese constantly attaches great importance to the preservation of the unique oak habitat in Krainykovy. Difficult negotiations are underway with native and foreign philanthropists to find funds and opportunities to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of our Carpathians.

The head of the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies, Oleksandr Bokotey, being one of the inspirers and organizers of that event, says that the oak biotope of this village is associated with it, like many locals, with the best childhood memories, and today’s problem with mighty oaks as well as the condition of the church of the Archangel Michael, do not allow it to live in peace. After all, these oaks together with the church are so organically woven into the natural landscape and create a unique architectural and natural ensemble as a combination of natural and cultural heritage. And our task is to preserve this creation of God for future generations. The activist points out that a lot of work is being done in several directions. The Institute makes every effort to blow a whistle on this issue, respective media support targeted at native and international audiences. Arborists have developed an appropriate strategy and work has begun to conserve and preserve these unique centuries-old giant oaks. But there is still a lot of work and tasks ahead, and here, according to Mr. Oleksandr, both the central and local authorities and international sponsors, all people of goodwill, must contribute.

The organizers of the event expressed their gratitude to all those who care about their native land and all of Ukraine, the head of the village of Kraynikovo – Mr. Vakanych Maryna, and the archdean of the Khust Archdeaconry of the MGCD, Metropolitan Vladimir Babych for support and assistance. And the great thanks, of course, to the team of dedicated arborists from all over Ukraine. The first to respond was local arborist Robert Albrecht, who invited an incredible team of Ukrainian arborists to participate: Boris Martin, Ivan Tsisaruk, and his son Andriy, Volodymyr Vetrogradsky, Valentyn Skubak and his wife Marina Pushkareva, and Oleksandra Sladkova, who gladly joined and do such important things. According to arborists, ancient trees are impressive objects of nature, because they are living monuments of history. If there is anything that can be done to prolong the life of a tree, they will do everything in their power, because the trees that are being healed now can help not only us but also our children and grandchildren by purifying the air and maintaining the balance of untouched nature. And such actions and measures should be brought up in children’s education in practice because the theory does not work here. At the same time, this work is not easy, because every living tree needs an individual approach, arborists are doctors and engineers at the same time.

According to Robert Albrecht, who together with his son Mark is always ready to help, after the first inspection, it was found that the trees should be saved, according to preliminary estimates, the oldest oak is about 600 years old, others – about 350. The height of these oaks – 30 m, the crown has a span of 20-25 m, and the girth of the trunk – more than six meters.

In the process of treatment, the crown of one oak was stabilized, the most emergency branches were tied with appropriate ropes, tree hollows were cleared, dry branches were removed and shortened, and several other necessary works for other oaks were done. In the future, specialists plan to work in four directions (according to the expert opinion of arborist Volodymyr Vetrogradsky): stabilization of the crown to prevent its collapse; inhibition of the development of coppice, which destroys trees from within; cleaning of hollows and their preservation for minimization of the risk of development of mushrooms, soaking and getting of garbage in hollows; removal or shortening of part of the branches that threaten to fall or unbalance the crown.

The head of the local religious community of the MGCD, which cares for unique oaks and the church and has only 9 believers, Vasylina Khvust expresses her gratitude to all who took the time to come to our region and join the preservation of the unique natural monument. Special thanks to arborists from different parts of Ukraine, who on a volunteer basis save a unique oak habitat, and at the same time the Gothic church of Archangel Michael.

Preservation of oaks is supported by volunteer work of the Association of Arborists of Ukraine, the Commission on Ecology of the Mukachevo Diocese, and the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies (headed by Olexandr Bokotey) within the project “Youth School of Sustainable Development of the Carpathians” (project manager Ivan Timofeev) in cooperation with the German Conservation Union (NABU) with the support of VGP FOUNDATION.

Informational Service of ІЕРС



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