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Премия рунета 2017

Scientists discovered a rare forest community and species, unique for Kamchatka in Milkovsky district

21 november 2019
Researches from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Saint-Petersburg with support from WWF-Russia carried out an expedition to the bottom of the ancient volcano Nikolka, 20 km south of the village of Lazo, Milkovsky district. The main goal of the expedition was to collect data which will be used as the basis for a landscape and botanical reserve establishing.

The basis of the ecosystem of the Nikolka mountain group consists of fragments of almost untouched nature that remained the same since the Pleistocene, scientists say. Several years ago, researchers came up with the initiative to create a botanical reserve in the area. The idea was supported at the regional administration level. Now a group of scientists who specialize in different fields of study is preparing scientific rationale, based on the results of their own field studies and literature data.

“Compiling a map of the proposed reserve, we aim to include in its borders a part of the unique marsh ecosystem at the northern side of the mountain bottom, with a capacity of peat deposits over 8 meters. We plan to include the remains of an ancient settlement Nikulskoye dating back to around 1200 AD. Researchers find new species, never encountered in Kamchatka before, or discover new habitats of rare or relict species during almost every trip to Nikolka,” said Marina Vyatkina, the senior researcher at the Plant Ecology Laboratory of the Kamchatka branch of the Pacific Institute of Geography.

Researches from Kamchatka invited their colleagues from St. Petersburg and Greifswald (Germany), who study myxomycetes, to join the expedition. Myxomycetes are fungi-like organisms that are positioned between plants and animals in the modern classification of species. For several days of work, the researchers found 950 specimens of myxomycetes claiming an extraordinary abundance of these organisms around Nikolka mountain.

Among the large number of rare and protected species of lichens found in the spruce forests of Nikolka, Erioderma Pedicellatum occupies a special place. Its presence is an indicator of the old age forest communities. Kamchatka is the fourth place on Earth and the only one in the Asian region where its presence has been confirmed.

Scientists confirmed the presence of Anemone Udensis in Kamchatka. As previously thought, the range of this species was limited to Northeast China, Primorye, and the Khabarovsk Region.

Aside from its scientific value, the Nikolka mountain ecosystem can become a popular area for ecotourism.

For additional information please contact
Head of WWF Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional Office