Exploring the Ukrainian Nature Reserve “Drevlyanskyy”

European Wilderness Society continues cooperation with Ukrainian protected areas. And now its time to present you a Nature Reserve “Drevlyanskyy”, located in the Northern part of Ukraine.

Please also read: Wilderness Audits in Ukraine

Significance of Reserve

Nature Reserve “Drevlyanskyy” is located in the north-eastern part of Zhytomyr region. Its area makes 30 872.84 ha. It was created to preserve the unique forest and wetland natural complexes of Ukrainian Polissya. Polissya is an area characterised by extremely wet, forest and wetland conditions with a dense river network and low population density.

Research values

Nature Reserve Drevlyansky protects relict and endemic plants and animals. Moreover, it supports reproduction and enrichment of natural forests in the region. According to the results of research work conducted by botanists, the number of flora species increased from 973 to 1513. Also, research work of scientist-botanist Mr Orlov found a new species of lichen. Furthermore, his colleague Mr Kondratyuk identified it as a new species for world science. As a result, they named it after the Reserve: Rusavskia drevlyanica. Besides, research work of the reserve identifies reasons and scope of pine plantations drying. And they conduct identification if old-growth forests. In addition, the research work in the framework of the international project “Polissya – Wilderness without borders” is just started. More results will be available later.

Environmental education

To continue the nature conservation work, nature and environment care, the Department of Ecological Education annually produces a large number of booklets, brochures and many other printed materials. Ecological education specialists know, that like any habit, people form the habit of respecting nature is formed in early age. Therefore, they regularly visit kindergartens and schools. There they hold open lessons, organize master classes and competitions on various environmental topics. Recently eudational department organized acompetition for the best bird feeder among children. Besides children competed for developing best coloring book of Red Book flora and fauna. One of the remote settlements close to the Reserve is village Bazar. There Bazar Environmental Department created a club of “Nature Lovers”. The club conducts educational lessons and various activities aimed at respecting nature.

Now educational department will also use newly received Respect Nature educational materials from European Wilderness Society.

Reserve’s rangers

The local population, who did not learn about the Respect Nature principles in their childhood, now deals with the state protection service (rangers). Every year, rangers detect and eliminate a large number of loops, traps and fishing nets, which harm biodiversity. Besides rangers arranges new and repairs existing feeding grounds for animals. There is also a need in communication trainings for rangers to be able to prevent violations on the Reserve´s territory.

Firefighting and women

One of the biggest challenges for rangers was the spring fire in 2020. The fire affected more than a thousand hectares of the unique nature of Polissya. Various weather factors caused burning of a large area. Among these factors are: high temperature, high wind speed, lack of precipitation, hot and dry summer of 2019. But despite all that, Reserve’s staff and firefighting service stopped the spread of the fire and prevented new fires. Women rangers play significant role in Reserve’s protection and especially in firefighting. They are well trained physically, but also able to prevent conflicts with violators in a more soft way.

Employees of the Nature Reserve Drevlyansky will continue to research native nature, teach future generations to care about it, and protect it from irretrievable damage. One day we also hope to join the European Wilderness Network due to our inimitable nature and our wish.

Mykola Shelyuk
Director of Nature Reserve “Drevlyanskyy”

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