Biosphere Reserve «Askania-Nova» in Kherson Region of Ukraine
Among protected areas in Ukraine Biosphere Reserve «Askania-Nova» takes a special place, as a history of conservation of his territory has about 110 years.
Since the late 19 century Frederick Faltz-Fein in the economy "Askania Nova" among pastures began to create protective areas. His first attempts (1883, 1885 years) were unsuccessful, because reserved for conservation lands got into lane highways of the Milky Way which went through Askania-Nova at that time. In 1898 Frederick Falz-Fein provided new protected area of 520 acres of land. It became a core of current biosphere reserve which celebrated its centennial in 1998.
Nowadays «Askania-Nova» is an environmental protection research establishment which has a task to save a gene pool and a natural habitat of fescue-grass steppe, to learn about dynamic of natural and transformed steppe ecosystem, to save, to learn, to reproduce and to replenish collections of three species shrubs floral ornamental plants, especially rare and endangered plants in artificial conditions, to save, to enrich, to learn a gene pool of animals from the collection of a zoological park, development of technologies of its maintenance and cultivation, renaturalization of native species. In reserve work 286 persons, among them 38 persons work in scientific subdivision and 40 persons work in security service.
The total area of the reserve is 33,307.6 hectares. According to the functional zoning of its territory, the area of reserve area is11,054 hectares, the buffer zone is 6895.6 ha, the anthropogenic landscapes zone is 15,358.0 ha. It includes virgin steppe and fallows (11054.0 ha), arboretum (196.6 ha) and zoo (61.6 ha) to its land use. Onshore and irrigated land of farms of Institute of Animal steppe regions of «Askania-Nova», farms, sattlements includes to its land use.
The climate of the territoty is temperate continental with hot dry summers and with a mild unstable winter. The average annual of temperature is about plus 9,5 degrees Celsius. Average annual of precipitation is about 400 mm. The flat terrain contributes to the rapid spread of both cold and warm air masses.
The total number of species of natural fauna in the reserve is 1873 species, including 67 species of mammals, 272 of birds, 5 of reptiles, 4 of amphibians, 8 of fish 14 of clams, 1109 of insects 9 of centipedes, 186 of arachnids, 10 of crustaceans. To the Red Book of Ukraine classified 30 species of flora, including 4 species of lichens, 4 of microbiota, and 73 species of fauna, the European Red List includes 12 species of flora and 16 of fauna, to the lists of species protected by the Berne Convention includes 203 species of fauna and 3 of flora. Particularly important value has a territory of reserve for preservation of migratory species of birds, huge flocks of gray cranes (9-15 tys.osobyn), gray (5-10 ths.) And White-fronted geese (20-500 thousand.), Tens of thousands of mallard and other species gather there every year. Modern arboterum park consists of two parts: an old part, founded in 1885-1902 years and a modern part with plantations of 20-30 years of age. Collectors fund of the park has 1647 species, forms and varieties of trees and flower-ornamental plants from 56 families (including 1,087 of exotic species). Hear is cultivated almost 90 species of relic, rare and endangered plants, of which 68 are listed to the Red Book of Ukraine, 3 of them are under international protection. Zoo "Askania-Nova" (acclimatization zoo was founded back in 1874) by the scale maintenance of animals in semi-free conditions, by the technology of acclimatization unmatched among countries of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and is one of the best in the world. Its specialization is cultivation and studying a biology of ungulates of steppe, savannah, deserts and mountain areas, around aqueous birds and rare birds of steppe zone. There are114 species of animals, including 15 native and 99 exotic species, among them there are many rare and those that are endangered. Some of these species such as steppe crane and gray crane, steppe eagle and ogar breed in zoo conditions.
Biosphere Reserve "Askania Nova" is the largest environmental-education center in southern Ukraine. Every year it is visited by about 68 thousand people. Except visiting of arboterum and zoo visitors are offered excursions on special routes and ecological paths, laid by the territory of the biosphere reserve.