Ecosystems of the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve returned to a state in which they were almost 100 years ago
«Officially, in 2016, the Chornobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve was established by the Decree of the President of Ukraine on the territory of the Exclusion Zone, which has existed here since 1986 in the format of the restricted area. Natural complexes quickly recovered, developing their laws without human influence. And now ecosystems of the Exclusion Zone have returned to a state in which they were almost 100 years ago. Today, only 10% of this territory is made up of people, and the remaining 90% is wildlife, which is the place of many Red Data Book animals and plants we have to protect, and this is the main mission in the Reserve's activity», – Vitalii Petruk, Head of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, said.
The Reserve occupies 85% of the territory of the Exclusion Zone, the so-called «30-kilometer zone», the other territory is the so-called «10-kilometer zone», which is the most densely contaminated by radionuclides territory around the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The boundaries of the Reserve are equal to the limits of the Exclusion Zone, which were determined 32 years ago.
He also stressed that in order to preserve the biodiversity of the flora and fauna of the Exclusion Zone, the main emphasis in the work of the enterprise is made on scientific research. Acquisition of the official status has made this territory accessible to Ukrainian and foreign experts.
«Earlier, the results of researches carried out in the Exclusion Zone could only be used with the permission of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, so most foreign researchers conducted their research on the territory of Belarus, so in this regard, we initiated another important change in the Ukrainian legislation, which contributed to the emergence of international research projects in this area and scientific activities in the Exclusion Zone began to develop much more actively», – Head of SAUEZM said.
Today, the majority of scientific projects are aimed at studying the impact of the accident and radiation on flora and fauna. Scientists are studying butterflies, wolves, Przewalski horses and birds, as well as exploring options for purifying soils from radionuclides. For example, one of the interesting projects of the past year was the experimental landing of fast-growing Paulownia trees, which according to preliminary data can absorb more radionuclides than conventional trees.