Polesie State Radioecological Reserve

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Polesie State Radioecological Reserve
Палескі дзяржаўны радыяцыйна-экалагічны запаведнік
Полесский государственный радиационно-экологический заповедник
Polesie State Radioecological Reserve (OpenStreetMap).png
OSM map of the reserve highlighting some nearby places in the annotations (as Mazyr, Pripyat, the Chernobyl Plant etc). The map in the corner shows its position (red) within Belarus, showing also the Ukrainian, and contiguous, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (yellow)
Map showing the location of Polesie State Radioecological Reserve
Map showing the location of Polesie State Radioecological Reserve
Location of PSRER in Belarus
Location  Belarus
Nearest city Brahin, Naroulia, Chojniki
Coordinates 51°39′N 29°59′E / 51.650°N 29.983°E / 51.650; 29.983Coordinates: 51°39′N 29°59′E / 51.650°N 29.983°E / 51.650; 29.983
Area 2162 km²
Established 1988
Official website

Polesie State Radioecological Reserve (Belarusian: Палескі дзяржаўны радыяцыйна-экалагічны запаведнік, Russian: Полесский государственный радиационно-экологический заповедник), is a nature reserve in Belarus, which was created to enclose the territory of Belarus most affected by radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster. Also known as Zapovednik (Russian for "prohibited"),[1] it adjoins the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine.

History[edit]

Two years after the Chernobyl disaster the Belarusian part of the Chernobyl zone was extended to a more highly contaminated area. Then a closed nature reserve was established in Belarus with total area of 1313 km². Reserve was established on July 18, 1988. Before the disaster over 22,000 people lived there in 96 settlements. The population was evacuated after the disaster. In 1993 it expanded by 849 km², making it the biggest Belarusian nature reserve and one of the biggest in Europe.

Geography[edit]

Overview[edit]

The area, located in southern Gomel Region and bordering the Ukrainian Exclusion Zone, includes part of the raions (districts) of Brahin, Chojniki and Naroulia.[1][2] It is crossed by Pripyat River and the city of Mazyr is 36 km from the northwestern entrance at Naroulia. Its southern strip is crossed by the Chernihiv–Ovruch railway, that passes through the villages of Kaporanka, Kalyban and Pasudava.

Settlements[edit]

The following list shows the abandoned villages included in the reserve. Population refers to 1959 census, "fam." to the number of families evacuated after the 1986 disaster.

Settlement
(with Russian name also)
Pop.
(1959)
Fam.
(1986)
Raion Belarusian Russian
Aravichy (Orevichi)
923
222
Chojniki Аравічы Оревичи
Babchyn (Babchin)
839
194
Chojniki Бабчын Бабчин
Bagushi (Bogushi)
599
195
Brahin Багушы Богуши
Buda (Buda)
267
56
Chojniki Буда Буда
Chamkou (Chemkov)
138
29
Chojniki Чамкоў Чемков
Dzernavichy (Dernovichi)
1,016
308
Naroulia Дзёрнавічы Дёрновичи
Haroshkau (Goroshkov)
191
154
Chojniki Гарошкаў Горошков
Kalyban (Kolyban)
977
270
Brahin Калыбань Колыбань
Kaporanka (Kaporenka)
317
70
Brahin Капоранка Капоренка
Kazhushki (Kozhushki)
869
214
Chojniki Кажушкі Кожушки
Lomachy (Lomachi)
177
38
Chojniki Ломачы Ломачи
Novakukhnaushchyna (Novokukhnovshina)
135
13
Chojniki Новакухнаўшчына Новокухновщина
Novy Pakrousk (Novyi Pokrovsk)
176
29
Chojniki Новы Пакроўск Новый Покровск
Pasudava (Posudovo)
642
73
Brahin Пасудава Посудово
Pirki (Pirki)
552
476
Brahin Піркі Пирки
Rudya (Rudye)
245
40
Chojniki Рудыя Рудые

Fauna and flora[edit]

The reserve hosts many rare and endangered species, which thrive here thanks to the virtual absence of humans. They include bears, European bison, Przewalski horse, Golden eagle and White-tailed eagle. It is home to the world's largest population of the European marsh turtle. According to PSRER administration, there are 7 reptile, 11 amphibian, 46 mammal, 213 bird and 25 fish species. Of those, 70 are listed in the International Red Book and the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus. Flora includes 1251 registered plants, which is more than two-thirds of the flora of the country, and 18 are listed in the Red Book.[3]

Activities[edit]

Main activities[edit]

Administration of PSRER is located in the town of Chojniki. It employs over 700 people and annual budget is 4 million USD. Main activities include:[4]

  • Measures to prevent radioactive material from spreading beyond the reserve's borders
  • Wildfire prevention
  • Radiation monitoring
  • Research of nuclear decontamination of soil
  • Preventing unauthorized persons from entering the reserve
  • Planting trees to prevent air and water erosion

Extra-budgetary activities[edit]

The administration uses land in the reserve to earn income in addition to its budget. The purpose is to increase self-sufficiency of the reserve, save money, increase the salaries of employees and contribute positively to the GDP of Belarus. Activities include:

  • Forestry and woodworking, sale of timber, firewood, individual carpentry orders
  • Growing crops as fodder for animals and also for human consumption
  • Purebred horse breeding using forage resources in the reserve
  • Pig farming, cattle farming, dairy farming
  • Beekeeping, honey production
  • Production of fruit tree seedlings
  • Providing services to citizens and organizations (transport, sanitation, human decontamination, research on the concentration of radionuclides).

Since 2004 there is a now 230-head herd on the reserve's horse farm. Cattle is being bred to endure the conditions of radioactive contamination, young individuals are sold for further breeding.

During all activities the content of radionuclides is being monitored in order to not exceed the limits.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]