Nikolai Korytin himself is the author of several articles on rare animals in the Red Book of the Sverdlovsk Oblast. Photo: Galina Solovyova
In May 1996, the first Red Book of the Sverdlovsk Oblast was published. In those 25 years, two more updates have been released, each almost double the previous one. Editor-in-Chief of the last two publications, Head of the Game Ecology Laboratory of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERiZh), Doctor of Biological Sciences Nikolai Korytin told Oblgazeta about how the composition of flora and fauna objects that are in danger of extinction in our area has changed over the years.
The Red Book of the Sverdlovsk Oblast is republished every ten years. During this period, IERiZh scientists are conducting research on the ecology of plant, animal and fungal populations. If one species is rare, it is included in the list of protected species and falls into one of six categories, where zero is completely extinct, the first is on the verge of extinction, the second is declining, the third is a rare species, the fourth is a minimum studied species and the fifth is attributed to species that are beginning to recover.
– The latest edition of the Sverdlovsk Oblast Red Data Book can be judged by its thickness – this is the largest collection compared to the previous ones, – says Nikolai Korytin. – There are several reasons. This is not only the effect of man on nature, but also the fact that we learn more and more about the flora and fauna of our area, we conduct research, we discover new rare species. The new edition of the Red Book includes 343 species and subspecies of plants and animals of the Sverdlovsk region. And in the 2008 edition – 183 items. But, fortunately, in these ten years, not a single species has been declared completely extinct and most representatives have a third category.
A significant part of the species in the last 25 years began to restore their number. Thus, the mute swan (listed in the Red Book of the Sverdlovsk region) was considered near extinction 20 years ago and is now assigned the fifth category. According to our interlocutor, there are species that can resist anthropogenic effects and restore populations to new conditions. Some animals adapt to live next to humans, for example, hawks and Red Book hawks now nest in apartment buildings in cities and hunt pigeons.
“Positive processes are underway,” said Nikolai Korytin. Including human activity. New protected areas are being created, special platforms are being built for birds of prey where they could nest. And human civilization is gradually changing, the green movement is growing. I think the whole fifth category will be excluded from the next Sverdlovsk Region Red Book, because these populations will recover completely.
Next for miscarriage
Despite the improvement of the position of plant and animal species, the main reason for the reduction of the planet’s biodiversity is the negative effects of man on nature. Nikolay Korytin names three main factors of negative human activity: poaching, deforestation and mining. In this case, the animals are often affected by a complex of factors. For example, due to net fishing and mining, the numbers have been undermined in three species of fish: tugun, nelma and taimen (the last two were given the second category).
“In the next edition of the Red Book of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, some species will be assigned category” 0 “, that is, the species will disappear completely in the area,” notes Nikolay Korytin. – The first candidate is the European mink. Lives in western Russia, the eastern borders of this animal range went beyond the Urals, but for more than 30 years we have not seen traces of its presence. According to the Red Book conservation rules, it is possible to identify a vertebrate species as extinct only 50 years after its last registration in the area. Now she has been assigned the first category in our Red Book.
The European reindeer is also on the verge of extinction, which is subject to direct human persecution and suffers from the cutting of pine forest, where there is lichen cover – an essential component of this animal’s diet. At the end of the 19th century, reindeer inhabited the entire territory of the Urals, they were more than elk. But for a little over a hundred years, there are very few fingers left – about 200-300 people. According to Nikolai Korytin, it takes 3-5 thousand people to stop an animal from being in the Red Book.
Pandemic: bad for humans, good for animals
IERIZH scientists conducted an interesting study. They compared the number of endangered species in an area with a population density and found a direct correlation: the more people, the rarer species in that area.
“This problem is typical of both Russia and a large number of other countries,” said Nikolai Korytin. – A balanced policy towards nature is very rare. In our country the situation with endangered species of flora and fauna is far from the worst. Due to our vast territory, we do not have time to develop all the resources, so nature has time to recover at least in part.
Nature is really capable of resisting human influence: reservoirs are self-cleaning, forests are being restored. A current example is the coronavirus pandemic, when, due to quarantine around the world, animals began to return to abandoned habitats. But the process of “wound healing” is taking place at the moment.
“There is another example,” says the scientist. – When the current capital of Brasilia was built in Brazil in the mid-twentieth century in the Amazon rainforest, a road was built there from the coast. It became very wide, the forest was actively cut. People were afraid that forests would come and destroy the road, but in reality this area was turned into a desert: nature has lost its ability to recover. Often people only pay attention to an environmental problem when the situation becomes critical. But if you pass this point without returning, there will be no turning back. Human culture and nature must coexist in balance, because we breathe oxygen, we get a lot from nature for life.
Today, the Red Book is one of the ways to avoid getting into trouble. It is full of colorful pictures, so that the child is interested in studying endangered species and an ordinary person remembers the plant and does not destroy it. This is not just a collection, but a legal document that can really save nature from human hands. For example, the environmental prosecutor, after detecting a violation in relation to the type of Red Book, has the right to initiate an administrative case. And a few years ago, during the construction of a new industrial facility, it was necessary to conduct a study on the presence of Red Book species in this area and to bypass their habitats. But now this rule has been abolished.
Of course, the Red Book is not a panacea, but it would be worse off without it. The very fact that there is such a collection in our area helps to protect the flora and fauna, because the better a rare species is studied, the more likely it is to be preserved.
To recognize that the population of a representative of the flora or fauna has begun to decrease or, conversely, to increase, a simple calculation does not always work. Scientists use a variety of ways to capture the object under study: from camera traps in protected areas and forests to interviewing nature-savvy locals. However, most of the research is done in the field. Botanists are guided by the number of plant sites in the area and zoologists study, among other things, traces of animal life: feces, horns, grass. But if a species is particularly difficult to identify, scientists are using modern technology. Thus, bats can be attracted to specific sounds that mimic creaking and the species can be identified in flight.
The first Red Book of the Middle Urals was published in 1996 and covered the territories of the Sverdlovsk and Perm regions. On May 12, 1996, the Red Book of the Sverdlovsk Oblast was established by decree of the Government of the Sverdlovsk Oblast. The new edition of 2018 included 197 species of plants, 109 species of animals and 37 species of mushrooms. From them:
- Mammals – 11 species and subspecies
- Birds – 45 species and subspecies
- Reptiles – 2 types
- Amphibians – 4 species
- Fish – 5 species and subspecies
- Insects – 42 species
- Angiosperm – 158 species
- Werewolf and fern shape – 9 species
- Bryophytes – 20 species
- Lichens – 10 species
- Mushrooms – 37 species
Each edition of the Red Data Book of the Sverdlovsk Oblast must replicate the species of plants, animals and fungi that became extinct in the area decades ago. Today there are three of them: Russian nutmeg, Asian castor river and red deer.
In this topic
It takes about a year to develop a collection plus time for publication. It includes scientific articles by several dozen IERiZ employees and the vast majority of projects are prepared by professional biologists. Not all areas have as many specialists as we do: botanists, soil scientists, zoologists, ornithologists, entomologists and other scientists. According to Nikolai Korytin, such an approach to the overall study of the flora and fauna of the Sverdlovsk region was organized by the director of the IERiZh in 1955-1976, a Soviet academic Stanislav Schwartz (a street got its name in Yekaterinburg).
Currently, a committee for rare and endangered species operates under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, which has periodic funds for the conservation of the Red Book of the region.
Drafted in accordance with the criteria approved by the Decree of the Information Policy Department of the Sverdlovsk Region of 09.01.2018 No. The functions and powers of the founder are performed by the Information Policy Department of the Sverdlovsk Oblast, as socially important information. “
- Published in no. 88 dated 20/05/2021 entitled “Ural safe behavior”