Nature Records + Modern Mathematics = New Direction for Science on Protected Territories

November 7, 2017 – start of the All-Russian seminar Eurasian Nature Records: Large-Scale Analysis of Changing Ecosystems.

The seminar opened in Vozdvizhenskoye Park and Hotel and gathered representatives from more than 60 Russian specially protected natural areas, from the Russian MAB National Committee, Lomonosov Moscow State University and academic science. Coorganizers of the meeting are Eurasian Nature Records Project (ECN) and the Prioksko-Terrasny Zapovednik.


Director of the Prioksko-Terrasny Zapovednik Evgeny Grigoriev opened the seminar and wished all the participants to have an interesting and fruitful working session. Deputy Director of Federal State Budgetary Institution Informational and Analytical Support Center for Specially Protected Territories I.S. Prokhorov, Head of the Coordination Council of the Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve M.N. Brynskih and Deputy Director for Science Y.A. Buivalov addressed the audience with an opening speech.


Climate research and phenological monitoring have always been traditional activities for Russian reserves. Nature Records is the main scientific document of the reserve, which concentrates the results of monitoring of natural processes on the territory of the reserve and protected area throughout all its history. Many of our reserve exit for a long time and they have Nature Records, which depict unique material on ecosystem and its components dynamics and state. In actual fact they are long-lasting multitaxon databases. At the same time Nature Records are not at all an estimation of ecosystems health, let alone any prognosis.


At the same time the phenological data, registered in it, prove, that species react on climate change. Long phenological sequences processed by our colleagues in Helsinki University show a range of interesting interconnections. Firstly, they found a geographical interconnection in phenological reaction on climate change. Our today’s scientific goal is to analyze the collected data, to find consistent patterns in the registered natural processes and its reasons and to predict future development.


The head of Eurasian Nature Records Project professor at Helsinki University Otso Ovaskainen presented his detailed report on the project history, financing sources, plans, perspectives and possibilities to publish works on the project in the leading international scientific periodicals. “Joint work in the frameworks of the ECN project will, firstly, lead to highly interesting and important scientific results,” said Otso Ovaskainen. “This data will help us find answers to some fundamental questions, such as the issue of species distribution and dynamics or the reaction of species on some changes in their environment. Detailed analysis of variations in phenological reactions on a large scale is a very intriguing scientific task. Another important theme of the project is concentrated in some practical issues, as environmental protection in changing climatic conditions or further land development.”


The cooperation of ECN project and the scientific community of Russian nature reserves and national parks started in 2011 and continue successfully till today. “For many of our colleagues on different protected territories the participation in the project started with communications in the professional society,” said coordinator of ECN project Evgeny Meike. “People spoke about it, wrote to us, asked questions and entered the joint work. A big role in the process was played by our conferences, which started in 2011. Sochi forum in November 2016 was very important as well. Today 89 federal specially protected natural areas are willing to take part in the project and 53 members send to us their data. It is a very big number and we hope for cooperation in the future.”


“Participation in the project improves the developments of our reserve,” said Deputy Director for Science of the Prioksko-Terrasny Zapovednik Y.A. Buivalov, “because it is a way to use our data collected throughout 70 years of monitoring, to digitalize it, grant security, process with use of contemporary mathematic methods and integrate in the global system. It is a great activity for Science Departments of our specially protected areas.”


The head of Coordination Council of the Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve E.M. Brynskih said: “Cooperation within the ECN project framework is a possibility to fulfill one of the most essential functions of a biosphere reserve, which are priority models for monitoring research activity.”


The seminar will last till November 10. The participants will discuss new methods of versatile data processing of Nature Records. They will have a chance to take practical courses, to share new ideas on how to use the results of data processing. Data exchange, joint results and popularization of knowledge – these are the new directions in science development on the protected territories.

The first day of the seminar ended with a busy fair with many souvenirs from different nature reserves and national parks.