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 cityBrahin, Naroulia, Chojniki
Coordinates51°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
Area2,162 km2 (835 sq mi)
EstablishedJuly 18, 1988[1]
Official website

The Polesie State Radioecological Reserve (Belarusian: Палескі дзяржаўны радыяцыйна-экалагічны запаведнік, Russian: Полесский государственный радиационно-экологический заповедник) (Acronym PSRER) is a radioecological nature reserve in the Polesie region of 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 "nature reserve"),[2] it adjoins the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine. The environmental monitoring and countermeasure agency, Bellesrad, oversees the food cultivation and forestry in the area.

History[edit]

Two years after the Chernobyl disaster, the Belarusian part of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was extended to a more highly contaminated area. Then, a closed to the public nature reserve was established in Belarus with a total area of 1,313 km2 (507 sq mi). The reserve was established on July 18, 1988.[1] Before the disaster, over 22,000 people lived there in 96 settlements. The population was evacuated after the disaster. In 1993 it was expanded by 849 km2 (328 sq mi), 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.[2][3] It is crossed by the Pripyat River, and the city of Mazyr is 36 km (22 mi) from the northwestern entrance, in Naroulia. The southern strip is crossed by the Chernihiv–Ovruch railway, which 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 the 1959 census. "fam." refers to the number of families evacuated after the 1986 disaster.

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

Fauna and flora[edit]

The reserve hosts many rare and endangered species, which thrive there 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 of the plant species are listed in the Red Book.[4]

Reserve employees[edit]

State Reserve staff counts 700 people, 40 of which are academic degree holders.

Activities[edit]

Although the reserve was established for the purpose of radiobiological and environmental research, it is of interest to other biologists. Due to the minimal human presence, it is possible to observe the natural development of wildlife in the conditions of Belarus. "In connection with the removal of anthropogenic load and the wealth of flora the ideal conditions for the recovery of the animal world have been created here", states the report of the Committee on the Health Effects of the Chernobyl disaster at the Council of Ministers of Belarus. Some new species, including European bison, have been introduced on the territory of the reserve.

Main activities[edit]

Administration of PSRER is located in the town of Chojniki. The annual budget of PSRER is 4 million USD. Main activities include:[5]

  • 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, which could spread contaminated material.

Extra-budgetary activities[edit]

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

As of 2004, the herd at the reserve's horse farm numbered 230 horses. Cattle are being bred to endure the conditions of radioactive contamination, and young individuals are sold for further breeding.

During all activities the content of radionuclides is being monitored in order to not exceed the limits.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Polesie State Radioecological Reserve: about
  2. ^ a b Polesie Radio-ecological Zapovednik (APB BirdLife Belarus)
  3. ^ 253459229 Polesie State Radioecological Reserve on OpenStreetMap
  4. ^ "Общество | Гомельская область | Гомель". www.gomel-region.by (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  5. ^ About (zapovednik.by)
  6. ^ Внебюджетная деятельность

External links[edit]