Digest November 2022

In November 2022, our colleagues from the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Pushchino will celebrate 25 years of work in PriokskoTerrasny Nature Reserve. Their scientific research began back in 1997 when year-round monitoring of CO2 release from sod-podzolic soils began in specially designated forest and meadow areas of the Reserve, in order to understand the extent to which this greenhouse gas enters the atmosphere as a result of soil respiration. The interest in this is related to the problem of estimating the budget (input and output) of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. Since 1997 and up to the present time the employees of the Institute have been making weekly visits to the Reserve, carrying out unique observations, which have no analogues in the world practice. As a result, today we know how strongly the monthly, seasonal and annual fluxes of CO2 from soils of the Reserve change and how this is related to current trends in climate change in the southern Moscow suburbs. Thus, against the background of the detected trend of climate aridization (warming and increasing aridity), a general trend of decreasing values of total CO2 fluxes from sod-podzolic soils of forest and meadow cenoses in all calendar seasons of the year and for the year as a whole was revealed. Contemporary climatic changes in the south of the Moscow oblast (warming, more frequent droughts, and shorter duration of snow cover) leading to a decrease in CO2 release from soddyypodzolic soil may accelerate carbon accumulation in the ecosystem as a whole if the productivity of plant communities remains at the same level or decreases, but at a lower rate. (I.N. Kurganova, Chief Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Lab. Soil Nitrogen and Carbon Cycles of the Institute of Physiology and Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences). On the one hand, we congratulate our colleagues on revealing the trend of decreasing carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere from sod-podzols, which are one of the most common soil types in the Moscow Region and more northern regions. But, on the other hand, we want to report that we would not want to change our habits in connection with the climate warming that is happening. Maybe some way to figure out how to keep things as they are? Summer pleasant warmth, and a light frost in winter. In any case, we wish the IPC&BPP RAS staff continued fruitful research and new discoveries.

The golden autumn in the Moscow region has been replaced by a rainy pre-winter, when it gets darker earlier and frosts occur more often at night. It is time to get ready for the cold weather. There are seasonal changes in the schedule of tourist sites of Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve – Tree House Ecological Park and Through the Leaves Ecological Trail are closed until the next spring. Only the eco-trail “The Way to the Bison”, as always, is ready to receive guests all year round, it is not open only on January 1. Even though the park and the trail are closed, the reserve has prepared new interesting offers – starting from November 1, on weekends and holidays, master classes “Bison panel” and “Shopper bag with the logo of the reserve” start to work. Visitors older than 5 years old who pre-registered at the Reserve’s website will be able to do creative work, watch educational films and listen to entertaining stories. And everyone will get a nice exclusive souvenir as a keepsake. In addition we have developed an interesting game program “Quest for the trail of the bison” in which everyone over 5 years old can participate after a simple registration on the site. For all those planning to visit the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve, we remind you that the prices for paid services have changed since November 1. You can always find the new prices and provided benefits on our site, in the section “Travel – services”. We look forward to your visit!

On November 3, Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Biosphere Reserve joined the International Day of Biosphere Reserves. This holiday, celebrated on November 3, was approved by the decision of the 41st session of the UNESCO General Conference, held in November 2021. Biosphere reserves are the spaces within the boundaries of which there is a voluntary commitment to apply the principles of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program, combining the sustainable development of the territory and the priority attention to the conservation of biodiversity, restoring the disturbed balance between man and nature. Ecosystems of biosphere reserves provide a number of important natural processes, the impact of which is not limited to the limits of the reserve and extends over large areas. As of 2020. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves had 714 sites located in 129 countries. In total, biosphere reserves protect about five percent of the Earth’s surface, or about seven million square kilometers. This is roughly equivalent to the size of Australia. More than 260 million people live in biosphere reserves. Since 1978 the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve has been included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves as Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve (Biosphere Reserve). One of the reasons for granting the reserve an honorary status is its great species diversity. The UNESCO Certificate of Biosphere Reserve was issued on February 19, 1979 and is kept in PriokskoTerrasny Reserve. The territory of the biosphere reserve includes not only the core of the reserve, its protected zone, but also a vast area within the boundaries of urban districts of Serpukhov and Pushchino, where today 146 thousand people live. Thus, the Prioksko-Terrasny UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a territory of cooperation, where not only nature lovers and connoisseurs meet.

We started the week with celebrities! Reserve specialists took part in a live broadcast on LOVE Radio Serpukhov. They discussed the latest news about the reserve, gave invitations to a tour of the ecological trail “The Way to the Bison” and became partners in the NEXT weekend.

A media class is great! On Tuesday, November 1, the Reserve hosted a delegation of young media people. 12 students of the State budgetary educational institution of Moscow “Mayakovsky school. Mayakovsky” one of the first days of the school vacations came to a specially protected area to perform the task of the project “Voices of Nature. The future journalists were impressed with the red-listed bison and the bison. We promise to publish the finished project on the reserve’s electronic platforms.

New tourist services. On the holiday of November 4 and the weekend of November 5 and 6 FGBU “The Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve presented its guests with a new service – creative master classes. About 30 children and adults were able to make a shopper bag with the Reserve’s symbols and a bison panel. A ski race called “Zapovednaya Ski-Run”, which was held at the beginning of the year, brought together athletes and people with an active lifestyle from all over the southern Moscow region. More than 100 people walked along a unique protected route, saw the beauty of the Prioksky forest and became a part of the community of reserved friends. We congratulate all the residents of the Serpukhov region and everyone who in one way or another takes an active part in nature conservation for future generations. On the threshold of the 44th anniversary of granting the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, we invite cooperation. If you are a creative person – artist, designer or generator of ideas, we invite you to take part in the development of the emblem-symbol of the Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO. The emblem should become a bright, memorable symbol of the Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve. It should become an identifying and representative sign, embodying the commonwealth and uniqueness of the territory. It is necessary for the emblem to contain the original spelling of the words and phrases “Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO” in the Russian language and a corresponding image – a graphic symbol. This emblem-symbol will accompany the activities and will be used in printed form and as a 3D model.

The Caucasian-Belovezhskiy subspecies bison from the Central Bison Nursery of Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve, the beautiful Muribella (b. 2005), which for a long time was the main female of the Murakami bison family group, has changed its place of residence. In the early morning of November 8, she went to her new home – the Berezich Forestry Division of the National Park “Ugra” in the Kaluga region. The bison enclosure was opened there on that day. And Muribella became its first inhabitant! The removal and release of the bison was personally accompanied and Andrey Stefutin, Deputy Director for Bison Husbandry and Breeding at Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve: “Parting with our wards is always a bit sad and anxious, because we are responsible for those we have tamed. That is why it was important for me to see the new habitat in person and to make sure that the conditions of its keeping were appropriate. The cage for the bison is built well and is located on an area of about one and a half hectares. The cage is located not far from the forestry homestead. And there is a floodplain meadow and a forest suitable for bison habitat on its territory”. The Director of the National Park “Ugra” Victor Grishenkov and the Director of the Fund for Support and Development of Ecological Initiatives “Compass” Tatyana Kovaleva cut the ribbon in front of the enclosure gates in a festive atmosphere. But this time the gates were not used all the same – it was decided to move the transport cage with the bison through the fence into the enclosure with a crane. The order to move it into the enclosure was given by Svetlana Rodionova, director of Prioksko-Terrasny State Reserve. The door was opened and the bison calmly got out of the cage, looked around, let herself be photographed and went to explore her new home. Muribella will be the only inhabitant of the spacious enclosure for some time, but her loneliness will soon be brightened up by neighbors. Since 2014, Ugra National Park has been participating in a bison reintroduction program. To date, more than 50 animals have been released into the park’s forests, and they are successfully exploring the territory and giving birth. These animals are becoming part of a large Oryol, Kaluga and Bryansk group, the total number of which has passed the 900-head mark and is considered the largest in Europe.

On November 17, Prioksko-Terrasniy Reserve hosted a training session on using the NextGIS system for state inspectors in the field of environmental protection and employees of the scientific department. The session was conducted by Maxim Dubinin, director of NextGIS LLC, and Alexander Dezhin, lead programmer. NextGIS geoinformation system is intended to collect, visualize, store and analyze spatial and temporal data. Its usage allows to automate and simplify many working processes of the protection department such as registration and mapping of disturbances on the Reserve’s territory and protected zone, mapping of infrastructure objects, positioning of groups of state inspectors on duty in the field of environmental protection and control of their movements in on-line regime, definition of location on the ground according to the Reserve’s borders and cadastre areas. It is important for the scientific department to have a convenient mapping resource that allows you to create your own tools for collecting and coordinate the data on the ground in a mobile application (NextGIS Mobile), quickly transferring them to a cartographic basis or in electronic databases. This will come in handy for zoologists, ornithologists, phenologists and other scientific professionals. Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve has been successfully using NextGIS since 2016, when we processed forest inventory data and then created tools for data collection and mapping for the needs of the reserve. So we have quite a lot of experience working together. But it is always useful to refresh knowledge again, to discuss additional options for using the system in our work, to learn about the principles of positioning on the ground, to get answers to questions on working with different tools. Therefore, the training, which took a full day, aroused great interest among our employees and was very dynamic and productive. By evening, before it got dark, Maxim and Alexander, tired of the questions, were invited to the Central Bison Nursery to introduce them to the horned representatives of the Pleistocene megafauna. An excursion to the bison was a pleasant ending to the training sessions.

On November 21, Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve celebrates an important date – the day of establishment of the Central Bison Nursery. On this day 74 years ago the first animal was brought here. The nursery was designed by M.A. Zablotsky, and its construction and compliance with technical conditions was supervised by forester P. Romanov. The construction began in 1947, and upon completion of the first stage, Mikhail Zablotsky was appointed head of the facility. At that time, the Central European bison nursery consisted of several equipped pens, and by 1953 there were four of them – ranging in size from four to eighteen hectares, and only by the end of the 1960s, the nursery reached the area that it still occupies today, – 198 ha. The first bison Puslav did not remain alone for long, because already on November 29, 1948, female Pustulechka, Plesse and male Pletsukh II were brought in. Thus, the initial breeding stock of the Central Bison Nursery consisted of two pairs of bison: a pair of the Bison of Belovezhskaya subspecies Pletsukh II and Pleske and a pair of Caucasian-Belovezhskaya line Pustulechka and Puslav. The Central European Bison Breeding Kennel started its main task – breeding bison – on May 11, 1950, when the first little Moskvityanin was born. Since then, all the Caucasian and Belovezhskie bison born in the cattery receive nicknames starting with the syllable “Mu”, and Belovezhskie – with the syllable “Mo”. Such a system suggested by the International Society for the Conservation of the Bison allows us to establish at once where the animal was born without having to look in the pedigree books. The permanent breeding stock of the Central Bison Breeding Center consists of 20-25 bison; young animals, at the age of 1.5-2 years, are prepared for release into the wild. In the nursery, the bison are kept in near-natural conditions in a fence-fenced area of the forest. They eat 5 to 6 hectares of forest pasture per adult animal, and during the warm season, feeding is not so important for them. Therefore, when animals are taken out to their permanent place of residence in natural conditions, they quickly adapt to them. Over the decades the staff of the Central Bison Breeding Center have made a huge contribution to the restoration of the bison population: about 700 purebred bison were born here, with over 70% of them taken to various parts of Russia and abroad. Thanks to many years of comprehensive work to restore the bison in nurseries and specially protected nature areas in Russia and abroad, the bison is no longer on the verge of extinction. The population of this wild bull has now grown from 48 animals in 1927 to more than 9000 animals in 2022! We hope that the bison will soon become a common inhabitant of our forests, and that the staff of nature reserves and national parks will educate the population about the rules of human behavior when encountering this largest animal of Europe in the wild.

On November 17, Prioksko-Terrasniy Reserve hosted a training session on the use of the NextGIS system for state environmental inspectors and scientific department employees. Geographic information system NextGIS is designed to collect, visualize, store and analyze data of spatial and temporal nature. Its use allows to automate and simplify many of the work processes of the department of environmental protection. It is important for the scientific department to have a convenient mapping resource, which allows creating its own tools for collecting and coordinate the data on the ground in a mobile application (NextGIS Mobile) and quickly transfer them to a cartographic base or in electronic databases. On Friday, November 18, the School of Protected Friends continued its work. The lesson was held by a leading specialist in environmental education Kalinina Olga. Students of SEBEI “Serpukhov College” specializing in tourism learned about the biodiversity of plants and animals in the habitat, and the variety of ecosystems of Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve. They talked about how each species makes its own contribution and that there are no useless or harmful species in nature. The students were also able to see the exposition of the photo exhibition “Reserve Photo Album”, which will continue until the end of 2022 in the Central City Library. A. P. Chekhov Central City Library.

In accordance with Moscow Region Government Decree of 18.03.2022 №250/10 “On preparation for the fire season of 2022”, order of the Committee of Forestry of the Moscow region № 28P-2898 of 14.11.2022. “About end of the fire-dangerous season of 2022” and in connection with lowering of average daily air temperatures and establishment of steady rainy weather, and also established low class of fire danger in woods of the Moscow area, to consider the fire-dangerous season of 2022 on territory of forestry Prioksko-Terrasny State Nature Biosphere Reserve completed on November 16, 2022. Recall that this year it was opened on April 11. The fire-dangerous season of 2022 passed without emergency situations for the reserve. During the period from April 11 to November 15 no fires were detected on the territory of the reserve. During the abnormally hot last month of summer average daily temperatures were +28°C and the summer record of 2010 was broken. Due to high temperatures and dry weather the IV-V class of fire danger was in effect on the territory of Moscow Region. From 19 to 28 August on the territory of Prioksko-Terrasny State Natural Biosphere Reserve and its buffer zone was introduced a regime of increased protection, high alert and increased control over the fire situation (Order #218 of 18.08.2022). In this regard, firefighting forces and means of the institution were transferred to the enhanced readiness mode, additional checks of the operability of machinery and equipment were carried out. Protection of forests from fires was carried out around the clock, joint raids with employees of the branch were repeatedly carried out “Russian Forest” of GKU MO Mosoblles in the protected area of the reserve, in order to prevent forest fires conversations were held with citizens visiting the forests. At the end of the fire season we remind that the human factor – violation of fire safety rules, as well as the blowing of dry grass – was and remains the cause of the overwhelming number of forest fires. At the present time the Reserve employees are carrying out maintenance of the forest firefighting equipment and machinery for preservation and preparation for the fire-dangerous season of 2023. Save the forest from fires!

On Wednesday, November 23, the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve hosted another training session for the staff in order to improve their skills. A lecture on the topic “Differences and peculiarities of behavior of the bison in conditions of keeping in the nursery and in free conditions,” conducted by senior researcher Dr. Pererva Viktor Ivanovich, author of many books on the bison and head of the bison nursery in the period from May 1976 to March 1979. On the same day, November 23, employees of the Department of Environmental Education and Cognitive Tourism visited the MOU “Dashkovskaya school” and held a lesson on “Feed the birds in winter” for first grade students. Young environmentalists now know what food we can use when feeding the birds in the cold. The children promised to take part in the contest “Making Birdfeeders” held by Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Reserve and to make and hang birdfeeders as soon as possible and make sure they are always full. On Thursday, November 24th in the House of Culture “Lira” in the village of Proletarsky of Serpukhov city district the opening of the photo exhibition “Touch the Living Nature” took place. The leading specialist in environmental education Kalinina Olga gave students in grades 5-6 a fascinating tour of each photo – told the kids about those who live near us in the wild and how important it is to maintain biodiversity.

On Friday, November 25, another plein air was held in the reserve. With a creative visit, to work with the images of winter nature came the students of the school under the name of A.A. Buzovkin. The children, aged 12 to 15, made sketches of animals and birds at the Museum of Nature. Children aged 12 to 15 years old made sketches of animals and birds in the Museum of Nature and wrote a sketch on the theme “Winter Landscape”. You can promptly follow the news and events in the life of our protected area on the website of Prioksko-Terrasniy Reserve in the Press section. As usual, you can expect a short version of what happened during the week on the following Monday.