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Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals
 
The area of natural vegetation occupies about 30 % of Ukraine's territory, of which 14% is forested, 3% is highlands, 8 % swampland. Most forests are in the Carpathians and Polissia.
Ukraine has mostly coniferous and deciduous trees (pine, oak, fir, beech and birch). Plantations of valuable species (oak and beech) are increasing, while plantations of little-used trees such as hornbeam and aspen are diminishing. The wealth of the forest includes not only timber, but also, berries, mushrooms and medicinal herbs.
The animal world of Ukraine is diverse, with hundreds of species of mammals and birds. Predators include wolf, fox, badger, marten; hoofed animals include roe, deer, wild pig, elk; there is beaver, jerboa, marmot, hamster and fieldmouse. Characteristic of the birds are the sparrow, titmouse, grouse, owl and partridge. Certain fur animals (nutria, mink, silver-black fox, musk-rat) introduced into Ukraine have aclima-tized well. In the rivers, lakes and reservoirs there are perch, bream, pike, perch, pike and carp.

Characteristic of Polissia are the pine, oak, birch, aspen, maple, linden, alder and willow. Animals here include the wolf, wild pig, elk, lynx, marten, beaver, polecat, raccoon and bear and such birds as black, hazel and wood goose.

The Forest-Steppe zone contains the oak, elm, hornbeam, black poplar, willow, ash and pine. The animals include squirrels, forest martens, foxes, hares and roes. The rivers are home to ducks and storks, geese and cranes.

The Steppe zone is the largest natural geographic zone in Ukraine. The Donetsk Ridge's character is similar to the forest-steppe.

In the Carpathians the vegetation is located in zones according to altitude. Up to 1,200 m we find mixed forests with beech, hornbeam, platan, fir and oak. Above 1,500 m spread the alpine plateaux, on which grow grasses and low scrub, especially the creeping pine. In spring the plateaux are abloom with saffron, primrose, mercury, snowdrop and edelweiss.

The animal life of the Carpathians is unique. Here one finds deer, brown bears, wild cats and pigs, ermines and black squirrels. Bird life includes stone thrushes, golden eagles and black woodpeckers.
The Crimean Mountains vegetation is very diverse. In the coastal strip forests of oak and juniper grow. Thickets of arid-loving scrub and grassy vegetation are very widespread. The strip of the Southern Crimean Coast is covered in forest, mostly beech with hornbeam, pear and maple. The principal tree species in the Crimean Mountains is the oak. The upper flat parts are treeless rocky plateaux covered in grassy vegetation. In late April snowdrops, crocuses, steppe sedge and other flowers come into bloom here. In May these meadows are a multicoloured carpet of flowers, with splashes of bright-red peonie and blue cornflower.

The parks of the Southern Coast contain cypresses, palms, magnolias, platans, laurels. Near Yalta are the Nikitsky Botanical Garden containing trees, bushes and grasses from all over the world.
The animal world of this region is distinct from the other zones. Birds and animals have survived here which are rare or extinct in other places. Such birds include the carrion eagle, black griffons, owls: reptiles include the gecko and others. We can also find noble deer, roe, wild pigeon, small weasel, white-tailed eagle, mountain linnets, blue stone thrushes, etc. The animal life includes many animals from southern countries: the stone marten, badger, fox; there are many lizards and some snakes.


 
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