The study of the fire consequences in the Red Forest in July 2016 and the processes of ecosystems recovery

In the period from 11th to 21st of August 2017 the Exclusion Zone was visited by the specialists from the Center for Ecology and Hydrology and from the University of Salford (the Great Britain). Within the joint project with the Chornobyl Center on Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology they studied the recovery process of the ecosystems of the Red Forest after the fire in July 2016.
One of the activities was devoted to the assessment of changes in the vegetation cover. The second one was devoted to the state of the population of mouse-like rodents, their abundance, species diversity, reproductive status, parasite infestation and the prevalence of eye cataracts. In addition with the aim to assess contamination of experimental animals with radioactive cesium, a new portable spectrometric complex developed by the British partners was tested. The equipment is designed to work with living animals.
Another type of activity was devoted to the assessment of the technical capabilities of the complex ‘quadcopter-radiometer’ for a detailed description of the radiation contamination of the experimental site. Although the obtained results still require careful analysis, it is already clear that on the sites of a crown fire the ecosystems suffered the greatest damage, and now they represent the impoverished violated cenoses. But the territories with a grassroots fire were practically recovered, although they differ in the increased biomass and in the richness of the grass cover. The population of mouse-like rodents, in fact, reflects the state of the food (plant) base, its indicators are within the limits typical for the given territory.
The studies on the mentioned activities will continue further.

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