Photo: Maria Zykova, CC-BY-SA-4.0
The majority of our group members are professional biologists involved specifically in studying and monitoring flora and fauna in the field. Our knowledge on the distribution of rare species is very important for establishing protected areas, combating environmentally destructive activities, as well as for evaluating which activities threaten each specific specie and how much it threatens them.
Back in 1993, a member of our organization, Vasyl Kostyushin, published the first Ukrainian publication describing the organization of a biodiversity monitoring system in our country. However, so far monitoring has not become a state responsibility. Except for a few hunting species, there exists almost no information on the populations of most species of plants and animals (in particular, rare ones). For many of the rare species, there are no records have been documented for the past 10 years, nor are there any annual reliable data on the populations and the causes of their changes. Such a situation leaves no means to adequately plan protection for species at the national level, nor the publishing of reliable Red Data Book editions, etc.
Biodiversity inventory and monitoring
There are more than 70,000 species of living organisms known in Ukraine, 3,000 of which are included into various protection lists. Preserving all these species should start with the regular work of specialists in the field of wildlife. We organize expeditions, locate and document the distribution sites of rare species. These expeditions can be individual or integrated, involving many researchers specializing in different groups of plants and animals together. Also we encourage more researchers to join the same kind of work. For this purpose, we publish compilations where specialists (and amateurs) can contribute their records of occurrences of rare plants and animals. Participating such oublications is free of charge to the authors.
The Use of Data on Biodiversity
The data we have collected and published is used (both directly by ourselves and by interested colleagues) to establish nature reserves, the Emerald Network, protect areas under EIA procedures, in court cases, to prepare appeals to international conventions, and in scientific papers. Data on biodiversity does not lose scientific value over time: once it is documented, it becomes permanently valuable to science.
Plans for development
We are keen to make biodiversity monitoring in Ukraine become a state task, which will involve more researchers than now. In addition, we consider as necessary to conduct initial national inventory to assess current state of biodiversity, as a starting point for the proper way of monitoring. Such a project may take more than one year. We are already doing our best to monitor and inventory flora and fauna and hope to continue remaining leaders in this area. We are also planning to publish annual collections of data on the distribution of rare species.