Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
PAwildernessadvocate
Posts: 389
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:31 pm

Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:27 pm

When the Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred in the Ukraine in 1986 it was (and still is) a terrible human disaster. Whole towns were lost forever.

One of the consequences of the disaster was the establishment of an exclusion zone surrounding the disabled plant, tens of thousands of acres in size, sprawling across parts of both the Ukraine and Belarus. Because of the radiation it is too dangerous to live there full time, and will be for a long time to come. It is ok to go in and visit, but you have to be careful. Especially as you get closer to the plant site itself in the middle of the exclusion zone.

What is fascinating about this exclusion zone is just how rapidly forests and nature in general have taken back over. Eagles, wild boar, wolves, deer, bear, beavers, and lots of other species are thriving in this location - smack in the middle of the otherwise heavily populated eastern Europe - in a way that they haven't done for centuries.

I read a book about this phenomenon several years ago called "Wormwood Forest" by Mary Mycio, which I recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/Wormwood-Forest-N ... 0309094305

Then, last night on the PBS show Nature, there was a new hour-long documentary on the exclusion zone that focused on wolf packs that are thriving in the area. You can watch the full episode online here (I couldn't figure out if there was a way to embed the player):

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes ... sode/7190/

Just another example that once you "untrammel" an area of forest land from man's overt management, the land and the ecosystem takes care of itself quite nicely, thank you. All the land needs is time and a total absence of interference by human beings. Designate the wilderness, and they will come!


Click on image to see its original size

.
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by edfrank » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:42 pm

[html]<object width = "512" height = "328" > <param name = "movie" value = "http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" > </param><param name="flashvars" value="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=1&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param > <param name = "allowscriptaccess" value = "always" > </param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param ><embed src="http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" flashvars="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=1&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" width="512" height="328" bgcolor="#000000"></embed></object><p style="font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;">Watch <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://video.pbs.org/video/2157025070" target="_blank">Radioactive Wolves</a> on PBS. See more from <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/" target="_blank">Nature.</a></p>[/html]

[html]<object width = "512" height = "328" > <param name = "movie" value = "http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" > </param><param name="flashvars" value="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=2&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param > <param name = "allowscriptaccess" value = "always" > </param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param ><embed src="http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" flashvars="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=2&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" width="512" height="328" bgcolor="#000000"></embed></object><p style="font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;">Watch <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://video.pbs.org/video/2157025070" target="_blank">Radioactive Wolves</a> on PBS. See more from <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/" target="_blank">Nature.</a></p>[/html]

[html]<object width = "512" height = "328" > <param name = "movie" value = "http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" > </param><param name="flashvars" value="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=3&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param > <param name = "allowscriptaccess" value = "always" > </param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param ><embed src="http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" flashvars="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=3&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" width="512" height="328" bgcolor="#000000"></embed></object><p style="font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;">Watch <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://video.pbs.org/video/2157025070" target="_blank">Radioactive Wolves</a> on PBS. See more from <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/" target="_blank">Nature.</a></p>[/html]

[html]<object width = "512" height = "328" > <param name = "movie" value = "http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" > </param><param name="flashvars" value="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=4&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param > <param name = "allowscriptaccess" value = "always" > </param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param ><embed src="http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" flashvars="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=4&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" width="512" height="328" bgcolor="#000000"></embed></object><p style="font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;">Watch <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://video.pbs.org/video/2157025070" target="_blank">Radioactive Wolves</a> on PBS. See more from <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/" target="_blank">Nature.</a></p>[/html]

[html]<object width = "512" height = "328" > <param name = "movie" value = "http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" > </param><param name="flashvars" value="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=5&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param > <param name = "allowscriptaccess" value = "always" > </param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param ><embed src="http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf" flashvars="video=2157025070&player=viral&chapter=5&lr_admap=in:pbs:0;in:pbs:647;in:pbs:1296" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" width="512" height="328" bgcolor="#000000"></embed></object><p style="font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #808080; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 512px;">Watch <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://video.pbs.org/video/2157025070" target="_blank">Radioactive Wolves</a> on PBS. See more from <a style="text-decoration:none !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px; color:#4eb2fe !important;" href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/" target="_blank">Nature.</a></p>[/html]

.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by edfrank » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:19 pm

Kirk,

I went ahead posted links to the video segments above. The ability of members to embed Vimeo, Youtube, and Google Video were specially coded modification or "mods" I added to allow others to embed stuff from those sites. I have added what mods I can find that allow the members to post different materials to the BBS. Only the board administrator can add the standard flash video embed code from a site using the html tags. The ability to use html tags was considered a major security risk and cannot be opened to the membership in general because of potential hijacking by spammers and hackers.

you wrote:
What is fascinating about this exclusion zone is just how rapidly forests and nature in general have taken back over. Eagles, wild boar, wolves, deer, bear, beavers, and lots of other species are thriving in this location - smack in the middle of the otherwise heavily populated eastern Europe - in a way that they haven't done for centuries.
In this case nature has taken over in a form that resembles our vision of what an untrammeled ecosystem should look like. I don't believe that a similar "success" would be achieved through a hands-off approach in every area that has been trammeled. In many areas the results of a hands off approach would result, in a relatively short period of time, in the establishment of some type of ecosystem. However the result may be one of an extremely simplified ecosystem dominated by one or two, or even a handful of non-native species - this is not a natural ecosystem but an artificial system whose structure is defendant on the past utilization of the property. For example, the establishment of a field of Kudzu on an abandoned property is not necessarily a good thing even though it is a self determining ecosystem. I would not call this an ecological success and it certainly could adversely impact adjacent areas and convert them from a more complex and diverse ecosystem to an effective monoculture of one species. I believe that some areas, if abandoned will yield a satisfactory result without any human intervention. I think other areas need to be initially managed toward an eventually self managing system. I know you are a wilderness advocate and champion a hands off approach. In this case the results were excellent. I hope to see similar successes in other areas in the future.

Ed

.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

User avatar
jamesrobertsmith
Posts: 906
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:32 am

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:01 am

Another unintended wilderness area is the DMZ between the two Koreas. It is, I think, one of the largest wildernesses in Asia and is full of plants and animals that have been extirpated elsewhere in the region. For instance, I have read that tiger pug marks have been found there.

http://www.tourdmz.com/english/02dmz/p4-3.php

User avatar
James Parton
Posts: 1576
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by James Parton » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:17 am

Mother Nature is certainly a resilient one. She will certainly try to repair any damage that man has done to her collective " body ".
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

User avatar
Larry Tucei
Posts: 2017
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:20 pm

Fasinating stuff. Just like Bikini Atoll has almost returned to normal in just 60 years and not the thousands that scientist predicted. Larry

Joe

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Joe » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:53 pm

Larry Tucei wrote:Fasinating stuff. Just like Bikini Atoll has almost returned to normal in just 60 years and not the thousands that scientist predicted. Larry
but have the bikinis returned? oh, ha.... I just had to say that....
Joe

User avatar
jamesrobertsmith
Posts: 906
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:32 am

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:10 pm

You wouldn't want to eat the fish caught at Bikini Atoll. They remain highly suspect from radiation. Some of the former tenants want to return because the fishing there is so good. But when samples are taken, the toxicity is still too high for human consumption.

User avatar
Rand
Posts: 1218
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:25 pm

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by Rand » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:08 pm

jamesrobertsmith wrote:You wouldn't want to eat the fish caught at Bikini Atoll. They remain highly suspect from radiation. Some of the former tenants want to return because the fishing there is so good. But when samples are taken, the toxicity is still too high for human consumption.
It always makes me a little queasy to contemplate how much finer the line is between healthy and dead in the natural world versus our civilized one. ("Oh look at all the magnificent animals!" "uh yeah...all the non-magnificent ones ended up as some other critter's lunch)


I also wonder about long term bio-accumulation of radionuclides in top predators like wolves and eagles. They showed radioactive bones (SR-90?), and kinda left it up in the air how much of a problem it might be. How long did it take DDT to become a noticeable problem? ~20-30 years?

User avatar
adam.rosen
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 7:20 pm

Re: Chernobyl's de facto Wilderness Area

Post by adam.rosen » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:18 pm

Very interesting thread. A really fun fictional, science "fact" approach is in "Wolves Eat Dogs"--by Mario Cruz Smith, (you know, author of Gorky Park). Smith teaches, entertains and really got me thinking.

Post Reply

Return to “Russia”