Carpathian Biosphere Reserve was formed in 1968, on the area of 12,6 thousand hectares, while it was having the status of state reserve. Since 1992 it has been a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO, and next year it became Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, covering 53630 hectares. It consists of six separate massifs: Chornohirsky, Svydovetsky, Maramorosky, Kuziysky, Uholsko-Shyrokoluzhansky and Narcissus Valley. Two botanic preserves — Chorna Hora and Yulivska Hora — are also included. The territory of the reserve represents a landscape structure and biogeographical features of the Eastern Carpathians.
Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is located at an altitude of 180-2060 m above sea level (the highest peak is Hoverla Mountain, 2061 m) and within three major parts of the Ukrainian Carpathians (Western, Central, Eastern). Different climatic conditions of the region are closely related to this, varying from moderately warm to cold: the average temperature in June ranges between +11 and +19°C, in January — from -1,7 to -8,5°C, the amount of annual precipitation ranges from 650 to 1500 mm.
Kuziysky protected massif is located on the southern branches of the Svydovets mountain range (350-1409 m) in the forest area occupying 4925 hectares. The highest summit is Lysyna Mountain (1409 m). The ridge of Jurassic marble limestones, forming the numerous rocky outputs, lies in the southern part of the massif. The region is distinguished both by the climatic conditions and by its vegetation. Under the influence of warm air, that comes from the Maramorosky valley, there were formed specific conditions here, which contribute to the distribution of the warm-loving species in considerable altitudes. Thus, Quercus robur and Quercus petrea grow at an the altitude of 1090 m (the highest habitat of these species in Ukraine). Special attention should be paid to Taxus baccata, preserved on the limestone rocks under the cover of maple-beech forests. Beech forests occupy the biggest part of the territory. Spruce forests are also spread here. Fauna here is typical for the forests of Ukrainian Carpathians. The amphibia are represented by spotted salamander, Carpathian triton, common frog and yellow-bellied toad. Among the predatory mammals, the following species are found: common red fox and pine-marten, sometimes — bear, lynx, wild cat and badger. The deserted adits and tectonic caves, being situated in the massif's teritory serve as refuges for 8 species of cheroptera, four of which are rare species — Bechstein's bat, barbastelle, greater horseshoe bat and lesser horseshoe bat.
Chornohirsky protected massif is located on the southern slope of Chornohora (700-2061 m). Its total area is 16375 hectares. Hoverla Mountain (2061 m), the highest peak of the Ukrainian Carpathians, is located here. The main range of Chornohora is formed by flysch rocks. Relief of the highlands has traces of the ancient ice formation with the typical glacial forms. The climate of Chornohirsky protected massif is moderately continental: when the altitude is higher, the air temperature reduces and the amount of precipitation increases. The average temperature in January is -6,8°С, in July — +15,7°С, the average annual temperature is +5,4°С. The average annual amount of precipitation is 1001 mm. The main headwaters of the White Tysa river are located in the massif's territory. Flora is diverse, forests dominate here. The mixed larch-conifer forests grow up to 1200 m, and even higher spruce forests. Krumholtz formations are typical for the subalpine zone, herbaceous areas occupy considerable part. The massif's vertebrate fauna is formed by the taiga and alpine species. In upland areas (at an altitude of 1800 m) one can find a snow vole and alpine accentor, included into the Red Book of Ukraine. The typical species of conifer and mixed forests are the followng: three-toed woodpecker, goldcrest, ring ouzel, black grouse, lynx, bear etc.
Marmorosky protected massif is located on the northern slope of the Rakhiv Mountains (750-1940 m) and covers an area of 8990 hectares. Pip Ivan Marmorosky (1940 m) is the main mountain here. The massif is formed by solid crystalline rocks, creating specific features of the relief, soil and vegetation. The relief has peculiar intermountain valleys, numerous rocky ridges. The basins of the Kvasny and Bily streams are located in the massif's territory. The basin of the Kvasny stream is characterized by cool and cold humid climate. The basin of the Bily stream is characterized by the warmer climate. The average temperature in January is -4°С, and in July — +18,5°С, the average annual temperature is +7,9°С. The average annual amount of precipitation is 1087 mm. In the uplands the climate is cold. The Maramorosky protected massif is characterized by the peculiar vegetation, due to its geological structure. In the lower levels there are mixed larch-conifer and deciduous forests. The beech forests are spread in the southern slopes and soils, rich in calcium. The mixed forests occupy the largest part of the massif's territory. In the upper forest line, where the climate is cold (at an altitude of 1600-1700 m) spruce forests are spread. The subalpine and alpine meadows with the fragments of herbaceous areas are located higher. The fauna of this massif resembles the fauna of Chornohora, but it has some peculiar features. Owing to the rocky landscape of the upland areas, such species of the stony places as snow vole and alpine accentor are more often found here. Peregrine falcon which prefers rocky sites, is registered only within this massif.
Svydovetsky protected massif has an area of 6580 hectares (600-1883 m). As the greater part of the Ukrainian Carpathians, the mountains of Svydovets have the flysch structure. The glacial traces are preserved on the main range. The climate of of Svydovets is humid, cool and moderately cold. The average temperature in January is -3,4°С, in July — +18,4°С, the average annual temperature is +8°С. The annual amount of precipitation is 930 mm. The climate of the upland is cold. The soil-climatic conditions of the massif's southern slope are optimal for the growth of beech — beech forests reach an altitide of 1380 m, being the highest line of beech forests in the Ukrainian Catpathians. The beech-maple and beech-ash-maple forests are spread on the rocky formations of the relief. In the grass cover there are: Phyllitis scolopendrium, Lunaria reduviva, Helleborus purpurascens, Asplenium viride. On the nothern slopes there grows fir, and near the upper forest line there grows spruce. The krumholtz formed by Dushekia viridis and Juniperus sibirica is found above the forest zone. A special interest in the floristic aspect represents the upland area of Svydovets, in the region of the Small Blyznytsia (1778 m) and Velyka Blyznytsia (1883 m): rare alpino-arctic species as Bartsia alpina, Dryas octopetala, Diphasiastrum alpinum, Juncus castaneum, Lloydia serotina, Aster alpinus, Rhodiola rosea, Salix hastata grow here. Only in the Ukrainian Carpathians one can find such species as: Drabba aizoides, Euphrasia salisbur-gensis, Saxifraga androsacea and others. The species of Leonthopodium alpinum, Aquilegia nigricans, Swertia alpina etc. are also very rare.
Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is a scientific research institution of international importance, created to preserve natural ecosystems in the Carpathian region. Environmental education plays an important role in the development of the reserve. Academic conferences, seminars, symposiums are held here.
In the town of Rakhiv there is the Museum Ecology of mountains and natural history of the Ukrainian Carpathians, also the ecological scientific-popular magazine Zeleni Karpaty (Green Carpathians) is issued here. The staff of the reserve was one of the organizers of the cycling marathon Stezhkamy Opryshkiv, which was launched in 2014, on the Independence Day of Ukraine.