Biodiversity of the Carpathians
The Carpathians, one of the main ranges forming the European mountain system, and a regional centre of endemism, constitute one of the key areas for biodiversity protection on the continental scale. This mountain chain runs more than 1200 kilometres through Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania, also entering small patches of eastern Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary. For a long time, administrative divisions, changing state borders and political relations discouraged large overall studies, even though this big and diversified mountain range clearly requires such a comprehensive approach to analysis of its biological richness. A number of past attempts to implement joint international scientific projects aimed at pan-Carpathian syntheses did not meet with appropriate support and understanding. As a consequence, unlike some local initiatives, none of those large projects have been successful.
We hope that the present volume marks the beginning of a new period in scientific collaboration, joining naturalists from the Carpathian region in a common effort. The present work initiates a series of catalogues, monographs and other documentary or problem-oriented works devoted to the biodiversity of Carpathian flora and vegetation. This volume, inaugurating the series, provides an example of a long-term, effective cooperation among Carpathian countries. We hope that this series will soon be extended with further studies, and that it will provide a good platform for publishing the results of joint research.