The government handed over 226,964.7 ha for permanent use to the Chornobyl Radiation-Ecological Biosphere Reserve
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the relevant decision at its meeting.
“The reserve was created back in 2016, but until now, its lands were not properly registered. Currently, these issues will be sorted out, and the institution will have even greater opportunities for developing its environmental protection and scientific activities”, – commented the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ruslan Strelets.
According to him, 226,964.7 hectares of the exclusion zone and the zone of unconditional resettlement are the largest wildlife reserve in Europe. The territory of the Chornobyl Reserve can be compared with the area of three Kyivs, or the Dnistrovsky district in the Chernivtsi region, or, say, Yavorivskyi district in the Lviv region or Buchanskyi in the Kyiv region. The reserve’s territory can accommodate 4 Carpathian biosphere reserves or 5 National Parks “Synevyr” or 6 Askania Nova.
During the six years of its existence, the Chornobyl Reserve has gone from registering as an ordinary budget institution to one of the flagships of implementing creative ideas and advanced technologies. In 2020, it was included in the World Database of Protected Areas (WDPA) and in the GBIF system with the publication and updating of datasets, in 2022 it received the Certificate of State Attestation of a Scientific Institution.
“The status of a legal land user will enable the reserve to more effectively perform environmental protection tasks, including in the reconstruction conditions after military operations. In addition, the institution will be able to develop its potential as a unique international platform for scientific cooperation”, Ruslan Strelets emphasized.
The minister also announced that after the Chornobyl reserve has registered the right to permanent use of land plots, the activity of the “Northern Forest” DSP, which is related to forestry, will be stopped completely. Instead, the reserve will carry out exclusively nature protection measures to improve and preserve the exclusion zone’s forest complexes.
The reserve’s biodiversity is impressive: more than 300 species of vertebrates, of which 75 species are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine, and more than 1,200 species of vascular plants. The real highlight of the Reserve is the constantly growing population of wild horses. For the fifth anniversary of the environmental protection institution, the National Bank of Ukraine even issued a jubilee coin with the image of Przewalski’s Chornobyl horses.