Consequences of the manual control over the reserved nature.
V. Borejko, Kyiv Ecological and Cultural Centre
Translated by A. Bozhytska
Unfortunately, a certain number of those who work at the environment sector still believe it is essential not only “to adjust” and “to improve” but moreover “to manage” a protected area. It takes various regulatory measures including cutting forests, mowing, human-induced grazing, shooting or catching animals, the so called optimization of hydrological regime and so on.
According to an Italian ecologist R. Guarino ‘the overal risk withing managing controlled areas lies in the investments into the preservation of units which people consider are worthy, and sometimes that runs counter to the natural dynamics, for exaple, the occurance of shrubs which can effect an abundance and frequency of some valuable species such as Wild Orchid (Guarino, 2013).
These regulatory measures have no ecological or ethical basis. Its’ bigger part is adopted by the reservation engagement from environmental management within hunting and forest preserves or stockbreeding pasturelands and results in the domestication of wild nature.
Regulatory measures within reserves are perilous as they resort to an approach based on reduction, it is when the complex ecological system is simplified by using a surrogate mechanism which allows a painfree interchange of details. Thus preservation areas become a field for experimentations, where all the natural processes and phenomena are suppressed instead of being protected.
From the ecological point of view, any regulations carried out in reserves are absurd as long as they mean the protection of nature from nature itself. It is like saving boars from wolves, gout-weed from nettle, trees from pests. Mowing, deforestation, shooting are nothing but putting everything that comprises the natural ecosystem into a human notion of order, which is actually opposite to natural processes and forbidden in terms of evolution. It makes the analogy with the guillotine as a panacea for dandruff and a headache.
Furthermore, the problem is that directors of the reserves often act on the basis of linear cause and effect relationship. But there in nature are more serious linkages, they are backward and not forward. For this reason any modifications of protected ecosystem would have indirect and delayed consequences of negative value. In other words, killing of wolves does not mean to increase the population of deers.
Being implemented, regulatory measures create a dangerous precedent for further pseudo-legal disturbance of the preservation regime. Jack Turner, an merican eco-philosopher, said a truthful remark, that once the disturbance has started, it will not stop, it develops by a spiral way into an intrusion of a great extent, making the wild nature more likely to be evaluated, modified and controlled. The right word is domesticated. Piece by piece, decision by decision, animal by animal, fire by fire we have impaired the wildness of wildlife. (Turner, 2003)
Regulatory measures conduce criminalization of a reserve’s staff, increasing the level of corruption, instigate to an immense utilization of a reserve. “It is important to keep in mind, that such regulations are often followed by an unexpectable side effects, adverse circumstances of which cannot be exculpated by a temporary minor benefit”. (Nasimovich, 1979)
Regulatory measures within reserves are just the supposed amendment of a violation by means of another one, like a car repair with the help of a sledgehammer. Therefore, mowing, sanitary tree cutting, thinning, recovery cutting, the removal of deadwood, pest control, restoration of aboriginal forest types, fire extinction, shooting wolves and other predators, clearance of windfall and burnt timber, any kind of biotechnics, winter feeding, differentiated protection of several species of wild animals and plants, kettle grazing, the fight against helminthiasis among ungulate species, measures to regulate population of animals, hydrological regime optimization, simulated floods, purposeful grass burning, creation of forest glades, ponds, watering places, making soil virgin, re-acclimatization, cleaning water bodies and other regulatory measures like that must be forbidden. (Borejko, 2010).
Scientists compiled a considerable number of substantial evidences of the ineptitude and disutility of the manual control by means of regulatory measures.
Many reserves, such as Crimean, Khopersky, Voronezh, iMedobory etc. have undergone various forestry activities disguised as the restoration of aboriginal forest types. But their ecological outcome was rather negative.
“The effect of restoration of aboriginal forest types in Voronezh reserve had not been reached” – concluded A. Krasnitsky. (Krasnitsky, 1983). Cutting down deadwood in Khopersky Reserve carried out in a view to prevent futher dieout of plants resulted oppositely in intensification of this process, according to S. Nikitina (Krasnitsky, 1983). The woods of Crimean Reserve underwent cutting aimed on restoration of aboriginal beech forests and that eventually was futile, though in the early XX century the academician V. Sukachev together with his wife G. Poplavskaja warned that if not for any kind of human interference beech forests would stay sustained and retain its’ appearance and order, as it was centuries before. (Krasnitsky, 1983).
As the result of sanitary tree cutting, Belovezhskaya Pushcha Reserve suffered loses in the population of the capercaillie, as well as the habitat of 46 species of lepidopterans, one of wich extincted at all, also the population of centipedes inhabiting Kanev Reserve plunged by 62% (Gornostajev, 1986, Cherkas, 2009).
Moreover, seven species which extincted after tree cutting had not revived even after 20 years. (Chornij, 2014).
Haying is a kind of measures carried out within a considerable number of reserves in order to control virgin steppes and their conservation, and usually one uses heavy equipment and it’s being conducted just during the period of reproduction of wild animals (as it is a proper time for haying).
It afflicts biodiversity of fauna. Thus, mechanical mowing in Tsentralno-Chornozemny Nature Reserve resulted in reduction of the population of meadow viper and sand lizard. (Vlasov, Vlasova, 2000).
As for the Valley of Daffodils, a part of Karpathian Biosphere Reserve one implements mowing and rooting up ground willow, making the number of birds and insects drop (Sokolova and oth., 1997). Generally, regular mowing on the premises of Ukrainian and Russian resrves was followed by the decline of abundance and species diversity of rodent, birds, spiders, bugs, ticks, soil microorganisms that inhabit mowed areas (Chuvilina,1985, Korolkov, 1995, Stirtz, 2000, Savchenko, 2000, Nazarenko, 2009, Polchaninova, 2012).
Another result of mowing is complete vanishing of Zegris Eupheme, a rare kind of butterfly, from areas of Askania-Nova Reserve, which had been intact before (Medvedev, 1959). It has been a major factor of the steppe eagle extinction from this reserve (Schummer, 1928).
On A. Krasnitsky oppinion (1983), mowing as a regulative method within reserve steppes is ineffective. G. Lysenko came to the same conclusion (2005).
Animals’ population control
No any positive effect for ecology would be achieved by means of regulatory measures connected with killing predators for saving other species. At one time all wolves were destroyed in Voronezh, Centralno-Chornozemny, Borjomi, Khopersky reserves. They were eventually replaced by feral dogs, which occupied the niche in cenozes (Nasimovich, 1979, Krasnitsky, 1983, Kudaktin, 1984).
In order to save ungulates in Caucasus Reserve they were not limited with shooting wolves but resorted to traps, nooses, poison (Kudaktin, 1994). As wolves were being hunted down the ungulates multiplied masssively, and that created a credible risk of winter feed capacity disruption and decline of ungulates population. Particularly, the tendency for the decrease could be observed among deers. The weight of bull’s horns has dropped from 3,75 kg to 3,3 kg, their trophy qualities degraded. The relief from predators’ pressure caused the negative trend in animals population developpement, since the wolves impact on ungulates has been a natural process of evolution (Kudaktin,1994).
According to S. Trepet and T. Yeskina (2011), the results of wolves population control within Caucasus Resrve “assert its ineptitude, when aimed on the restriction of extreme impact of a predators upon the deer population”.
The most preferable controlling method by reserves staff members is killing of allegedly redundant ungulates and other large animals.
However, no human can and ought to switch the population of wild animals on and off like light. This is ecologically incorrect, morally wrong and practically ineffective. The researches, conducted by zoologists over various Russian reserves, shown that shooting as a way of the population control is useless. In 1962 there in Oka Nature Reserve 7% of moose population were brought down, but their number were recovered during two weeks due to individuals which came from closer regions. In 1964 regulatory shooting did not reduced population but even augment it by 9%. Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Reserve had 40% of mooses excluded, but even such an extensive elimination did not affect their number significantly as they were substituted by newcomers from the neighborhood. The same result was reached in Tsentralno-Chornozemny Nature Reserve.
Shooting sika deer in Khopersky Reserve did not give an anticipated result. Shooted individuals was replaced by another ones (Sokolova and oth., 1997).
Caspian gull was undergone elimination in the Chornomorsky Nature Resrve. But eventually its ecological niche was occupied by grey crows and rooks, which are not less harmful for the range of birds species (Krasnitsky, 1983).
Re-aclimatization of animals
Re-aclimatization of animals that have long become extinct may take a toll on the ecosystem of reserves. An example of this would be the import of bisons into Khopersky Reserve, which took place in 1955. The animals damaged rare upland oak forests. (Nasimovich, 1979).
Various biotechnical measures, particularly a formation of artificial nests, often lead to negative results. Lots of boxes for titmouses and starlings were hung in the Tsentralno-Chornozemny Naturr Reserve in 1959. Those birdhouses were mostly seized by tree sparrows, which was competing with titmouses, and that phenomenon cannot be treated positively (Krasnitsky, 1979).
Attracting birds with the help of artificial nesting boxes in the Chornomorsky Nature Reserve was fallowed by quantitative augmentation of tree sparrows and starlings on some sites of the reserve, namely the Volyzhyn Forest. As a result, birds started eating field insects including the rearest of them such as saga pedo and mantis (Zelinska,1984).
Formation of saline soils for ungulates is seen as an important element of biotechnical activity. Thus, by the end of the 1960′s the number of salt licks rose up to 80, and the weight of salt used for their creation brought the total to 15 tonnes. According to the recent data the formation of saline soils is inadvisable and unwarranted. This is just another source of ecological violations, human interference and pollution. “Every such a salt lick is a source of destabilization within existing signal scope of ungulates and predators, and their complex is an adverse factor (Trepet, Loktioniva, 2013).
Forest management activities
The planting of seedlings on the territory of reserves often cause negative ecological consequences. So, the basic reason of rare Diphasiastrum lycopodium’s clones death in the Polesye Reserve is the mechanical soil tillage for replacing felled wood with forest plantations (Bumar, 1995).
Kettle grazing is considered as almost beneficial measure for the ecologycal system of reserves. But the idea is wrong. Grazing is detrimental for the protected nature.
In 1972 on the southern-west shore of a lake in the Issyk-Kul Reserve the plot of 50 hectares lost 230 nests of mallards, teals, redshanks, lapwings and other birds because of grazing. In the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve kettle while grazing at a ration of 7 animals per 50 hectares battered vegetation to the soil, inoculated weeds, the abundance of roes and argali dropped sharply. In some areas of Caucasus Reserve, shepherds having had frequently disturbed turs made them gradually leave an alpine zone. In 1940′s grazing in Caucasus Reserve caused a quantitative and qualitative impoverishment of the stock of wild ungulates, which were concentrated on highland pastures. The vegetation of the Michailovskaya Tselina Nature Reserve, before the establishment of the reserved status, when grazing was intensive, included nearly 190 species, but after the status was set out in early 1970-s the number increased to 525 species (Nuchimovska, Bibikova, 1983).
Grazing on reserved territories are often connected with poaching, chasing wild animals with dogs, dissemination of introduced species (Nuchimovska, Bibikova, 1983).
The marals of the Bashkir Nature Reserve cought the gelminth infection from livestock while attending salt licks. In Caucasus Reserve the chamois had been infected with such deseases as megrims, murrain, anthrax etc. transported by livestock (Nuchimovska, Bibikova, 1983).
In 1954-1963 livestock trode down 30% of sandpiper’s nests, 6% of waterfowl’s nests in the wood and 9% of the latter in meadows (Vladyshevsky, 1975).