Hogweed arrived in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug and froze. The deadly weed fails to take root in the Arctic

The situation with the spread of the pig in Russia is becoming critical. Every year the weed occupies more and more areas, displacing the useful agricultural crops. According to some forecasts, in 20-30 years this will happen in almost the entire European part of the country. Two years earlier, it became known that the seeds of the plant were transported to the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region. How it ended, Yamal scientists said.


In the years of famine after the end of the Great Patriotic War, the authorities of the Soviet Union were looking for a cheap way to feed their animals. The best choice for silage production seemed to be Sosnowski’s parsnip. This unpretentious plant from the middle mountains of the Caucasus grows fast, it is rich in vitamins and proteins.

But in practice, pork has been shown to be dangerous to humans and animals. It turned out to be unsuitable for feed production – the milk of the cows fed cow dung proved to be bitter. The spread of the weed is very difficult to control, it penetrates into the natural ecosystems and occupies the whole space, displacing other plants.

In 2020, pork pigs occupied 20-40% of the agricultural land. The plant can be found in side streets, abandoned fields, private gardens and even in cities. Hogweed arrived in the arctic territory of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region. The weed habitat has reached the latitudes of Cape Kamenny and Seyakha, experts from the Arctic Research Center said in 2020 after a mission to the Yamal region.

The seeds of the plant were probably transported to the area by transport and machinery. According to scientists, the weed initially grew in soils subject to anthropogenic influence, but then began to spread throughout the tundra, causing concern to locals.

But, as they told Yamal-Media at the Arctic Science Research Center, a second mission to the same area in 2021 found no trace of the cow parsnip that had grown there earlier. Obviously, the polar conditions were still proving very harsh for the “newcomer”.


What is dangerous weed?

Hogweed contains furanocoumarins, which dramatically increase the sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation. In contact with the skin, pork causes burns, with the most serious damage occurring on clear days when sunlight is highest.

If more than 80% of a person’s skin is covered with burns, it is almost impossible to avoid a fatal outcome. Contact with pork juice in the eyes can lead to blindness and high concentrations of pollen and aerosol in plant juice cause swelling of the upper respiratory tract.

Hogweed is unpretentious and very productive: one plant produces from 20 to 100 thousand seeds. The people themselves also contribute to their rapid spread: when pork grows along the roads, passing cars spread its seeds several hundred meters. Nature suffers from the dominance of the weed. Its juice poisons the soil and prevents other crops from growing, Kommersant wrote.

In 10-15 years, a young forest grows on an abandoned arable land: first weeds, then meadow grass, then small forests and so on. But if the arable land is occupied by cow parsnips, nothing grows on it. Only pork

Ludmila Volkova

specialist of the Center for Wildlife Protection

Swine fever is also facilitated by global warming – the weed feels great at high temperatures.



Problem without solution

Scientists at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have come to a disappointing conclusion: in the coming decades, almost the entire European part of Russia could be affected by swine.

During the study, the scientists used a machine learning algorithm. Artificial intelligence evaluated eight characteristics of climate and soil. According to the forecast, in 2040-2060, weeds will occupy almost all of Central Russia, with the exception of the northern regions.

Hogweed was included in the list of weeds only in 2015. Every year, tens of millions of rubles are spent on weed control, but the methods used are ineffective.

“The cow parsnip is fought with plowing, mowing, chemicals and replacement with cultivated plants, but this is a difficult and long process, because the weed is very durable and productive. “In our study, we prove that if the process is left to chance, the situation with the spread of parsnips in the coming decades is likely to worsen.”– said the author of the study Skoltech Diana Koldasbaeva.

People are looking for different ways to use the plant or eradicate it. Scientists have discovered that the leaves and fruits of the weed contain essential oils that can be used to treat skin conditions, especially psoriasis. And in the Moscow region, they learned how to get bleached pork pulp, and this process is cheaper and easier than in the case of wood. However, so far not all possible ways of using pork have been widely used.

The most important and up-to-date news can be found on our Telegram Yamal-Media channel.

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