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National natural park "Svyati gory"
National natural park "Svyati gory" was created according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine in 1997 to preserve the landscapes of Donetsk mountain-ridge with its unique natural complexes which have important nature protecting, aesthetic, scientific, educational, recreational significance.
It is subordinated to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. It is situated in Svyatogorsk and on the territory of Slovjansk and Krasnyi Liman regions. Its total territory is 40 589,0 hectares, from which 11 878 hectares is given to the park for constant use.
The territory of the park within Donetsk region spreads along the bed of Siverskyj Donets from Kharkiv region on the North -West to Lugansk region in the East.
The national park consists of several small forest tracts, divided by settlements, agricultural lands, industrial zones, railways and motor roads, electric mains. The total length of the boundaries of the park is 500 km that makes protection of the preserved object even more difficult.
The history of developing of this territory takes many centuries. 129 fixed archeological finds from the epoch of pal(a)eolith to the medieval centuries witness it. The most famous memento of history-cultural heritage is Svyatogorsk cave monastery, which, according to some versions, has existed since the 9th century. Siverskyj Donets river is also mentioned in the chronicles. As Nestor says, in 1111 the troops of the prince Volodymyr Monomakh crossed Donets and defeated Polovtzy on their lands. Somewhere here the events described by the Old Russian author which became world famous in his memento of Slavonic literature "Slovo o Polku Igorevim" ("The Story of the Passing Years") took place.
In the documents of XVI and XVII centuries Svyati gory is recollected as a border-line watch post and as a monastery. From the beginning of the XVIII century in the middle bed of Siverskyj Donets modern villages and towns appear. At present it is a very densely populated region — the favorite place of recreation which is surrounded by legends.
The growth of anthropogenic pressure on nature required the working out of special measures for its protection. In 70-80-s of the XX centuries on the modern territory of Svyati gory 1 7 reserves and nature sanctuaries of different importance were organized. The organization of the national nature park became a significant stage in the sphere of nature protection of PriDonets region.
The territory of the natural park rather fully reflects landscape, biogenetic and biologic variety of pre-bed part of Siverskyj Donets river basin. According to physics-geographic regioning of Ukraine the park is situated in the steppe zone on the boundary Donetsk-Don and left-bank Dnieper north-steppe provinces which is situated in the basin of Siverskyj Donets.
The characteristic peculiarities of the left bank are the flood-lands terraces and of the right one — platoe, which is situated 120-130 meters above the sea level. It is separated by ravines and gullies, the creeks which open to the river.
The back-waters of the river have plain relief with the typical pre-bed sandy bars, lakes and old river beds, the width of which can reach 3 km. Out of back-waters there are chalky and forest terraces. The surface of the terraces with a lot of hills and gullies is covered with thick forest.
Within the national park two left (Nitryus and Chornyj Zherebets rivers) and two right (Kazennyj Torets and Bakhmutka rivers) tributaries flow into Siverskyj Donets. Spring floods take place on Siverskyj Donets every year. Average annual amplitude of oscillations of the river level is 2,5 meters, but high levels of rise up to 5,8 meters is observed once every 4-5 years.
In the back-waters of Siverskyj Donets there are many lakes. Some of them are not deep and have the shape of narrow long bands or loops, being, possibly, old river beds. Their supply depends on floods and precipitations. Other lakes are situated on the boundary of back-water and the first flood-lands terrace. They have round spindle-shaped form and they are deeper. On the bottom of such waterlands there are many springs which support relative stability of the water level and temperature. Shallow lakes gradually overgrow very often water surface hides completely under the tops of alder thicket or in the brushwoods of willows. So shallow flood-lands bogs appear.
The flora of the national natural park "Svyati gory" has a great scientific and nature protecting value. On the territory of 40,5 hectares there is one third of phytocenotypic variety of the plants of the south-eastern Ukraine. It is represented not only by the most typical groups of the plant complex but also by the unique endemic, rare and relict elements. Forests occupy more than 91% of the park territory, meadows — about 1,5%, bogs — 2,5%. In different relief conditions of the right bank deciduous forests aged 90-110 grow, which consist of oaks, ash-trees, lime-trees serdzelistnaya, maple polevoy, though oaks prevail.
Underbrushes overgrow with hazels, maples Tatar, sometimes with cow-berry borodavchataya and bloody dogwood. Zvezdochnik lanzetovidnyi dominates in the herbage. On some spaces south-european and submedi-terranian species dominate: egonokhon purple-blue, perlovka pestraya, arum udlinennyi, Krim comfrey and others.
Deciduous forests is a rather rare phenomenon for a steppe zone. They could form due to mountainous relief conditions of Donetsk range.
For the herbage of flood-lands oak woods lily of the valley, which blossoms in the end of April- beginning of May as a white and green carpet is characteristic. Blackberry, korkazon obychnyi, bromopsis bezostyi are widely represented. In some places nettle dvudomnaya, rashodnik pl'uschevidnyi and zvezdnik lanzetovidnyi form thick brushwoods. There are some spaces where yagliza obyknovennaya dominates in the herbage. Oak tree forests take one third of the total territory of the forests. There prevail plants of verdure origin but preserved the spaces of seed origin with the trees up to 30-35 meters high.
Forests where pine trees dominate take mostly the first flood-lands terrace (they are called pine forests), sometimes they take the second forest terrace. Depending on ground conditions in pine trees underbrush with herbage tier develops. Almost all the pine-tree plantations are artificial.
The most valuable are chalky coniferous forests formed by chalky pine-trees — a tertiary relict which is put into the Red Book of Ukraine. According to the data of many scientists in XVIII century the right bank of Siverskyj Donets near Svyatogorsk monastery up to the village Mayaki was covered with pure chalky pine-trees forests with some areas of oak trees Later pine-tree forests start replacing deciduous forests and at the end of the XIX century the territory of chalky forests decreased sharply. Only some separate areas of many-tier oak forests preserved. Oak forests especially suffered because of fellings and fires during the war. Thinned out forest stands which are 60-80 years old with some trees 150 years old remained. In these plantations dynamic processes of interaction of forest and steppe take place.
Smoke trees and dog(-)rose grow actively in underbrush, herbage is mainly formed be steppe species. Though sandy steppes are planted by pine-trees in their herbage also steppe species prevail. According to the data of many scientists 943 species of plants grow in Svyatogir'e that proves their importance for science. In the Red Book of Ukraine 48 species are included, of which 45 are rare for Donbass and are1 protected on the local level. In the Red Book of Ukraine, apart from chalky pine-tree, dvuhryadnik melovoi, cockscomb rattleweed melovoi, shlemniza melovaya, kostriza melovaya, tulip dubravnyi, hazel-hen Russian, bulatka krasnaya, koruchka temno krasnaya, kukushechnik klopovoi and others are included. Into the European red list such species as common polypody melovoi, erisimum melovoi, campion melovaya, gisop melovoi, drag donskoi, wormwood belyi, hawthorn Ukrainian, wheat-grass kovylelistnyi are included.
Within the national park 43 associations put in the Green Book of Ukraine are discovered. It is first of all chalky coniferous forest, oak tree forests with hornbeam and maple Tatar, kreptofil and steppe phytocoenosis, water groups of salviniya plavayuschaya. It is also worth to distinguish sphagnous bogs-saucers which in the steppe zone are situated on the southern boundary of its spread.
The wide range of ecological conditions from forests to steppe supports the richness and variety of the animal world. Down the Union of Siverskyj Donets and Oskol on the area with a great number of sandbanks and spits and also in the spring streams of backwaters of Donets lives lamprey Ukrainian — a rare species put in the Red Book of Ukraine and European red list.
The fauna of waterlands is presented by 40 species of fishes, among which vyrezub and yalez Danilevskogo are put in the Red Book. Unfortunately, after building down the stream of Siverskyj Donets of the dams there are not passing species, such as chalcalburnus, vimba and the representatives of acipenserids anymore here
With flood-landed bogs life of nine species of reptiles is connected. Among them the most frequent is toad and krakovka — the species which remained mainly on the territory of the national park because of the high degree of drainage and cutting down of forests. In spring in any bog, lake or even in a ditch you can hear the 'songs' of kumka krasnaya, lake frog or green toad.
The fauna of the park includes 10 species of reptiles: grass-snakes usual and water ones, bog turtouses and lizards. In the oak tree forests and on the damp areas of pine-tree plantations there is veretelniza and grass snake put into the Red Book of Ukraine. In the more dry and almost forestlessareas of a sandy flood-lands terrace of Sverskyj Donets lives a population of a multi-colored lizard, rare samples of a forest and yellowbellied racer.
On the middle PriDonets region there are more than 200 species of birds. Most of them can be seen in the national park. First of all, these are forest species of European fauna and water-bog species. Most widely spread in forest bogs are chaffinches, bid titmouse, blue titmouse, gaech-ka, opolzen, flycatcher belosheika, buntling and ortolan buntling. Usual background species are big colored woodpecker, wryneck, tree creeper, black thrush, nightingale, robin. In floodlands where there are many old poplars and wllows, there are a lot of starlings and sparrows. Here goldfinch, zelenki, orioles and grey woodpeckers prevail. On the high trees nest (black) kites, grey crows, owl ushastaya, which uses their nests. In the brushwoods of above-water plants, on the banks of lakes and old riverbeds wild ducks, teal treskunok, lyska, gallinule, bittern live. In some riverlands there are nests of mute-swan and grey goose.
On the area "Martynenkovo Bog" lives a big colony of grey herons. Their nests are on the tops of black alder, surrounded by water. Every year on the territory of Svyatye gory nest 10-20 couples of a grey crane put into th Red Book of Ukraine. In autumn before flying away on the large water-meadows of Donets they start their flying trainings. At that time you can also see their 'marriage' dances.
Very interesting is the fauna of day predator birds. Along the rather usual birds — big hawk, buzzard, hobby falcon — in the national park constantly nest some rare species: honey buzzard, white-tailed eagle, eagle-karlik. Every year you can see here short-toed eagle, eagle-mogilschik, hen-harrier. On the chalky cliffs without any trees and bushes a very rare steppe kestrel nests in the holes. A great variety of birds species is explained by the fact that the valley of Siverskyj Donets is an important migration area for many migrant and nomadic species. During the period of migration black stork, belolobaya goose, fish-hawk, steppe buzzard, many species of ducks, sandpiper and Passeriformes are registered there. Rough-legged buzzard, big merganser, golden-eye, bullfinch, thrush-omel'uh, omel'uh spend winters in the national park. Black alders attract flocks of siskins and pine-trees attract kinglets zeltogolovye.
Teriofauna includes 43 species. The Red Book of Ukraine includes 48 wild representatives of the national park, the European red list includes 12 species. Most of them are not well-studied yet.
There is a great number of predator animals there. Weasel, forest polecat, American mink, forest and stone marten are the typical inhabitants of the national park. There is also ermine, badger, otter which are put into the Red Book of Ukraine. From the middle of the 90-ies of the previous century on the territory of the park wolves live. Now their number is from seven to twenty two. In the mountainous oak forests the number of foxes reaches 30 on the territory of 1000 hectaress. In the thick brushwoods foxes find favorable conditions for bringing up posterity.
Ungulate animals are represented by typical for such places roes, wild boars, taiga elks, which settled there in the second half of the XX century, and dappled deer acclimatized from Primor'e in the 60-ies. Everywhere, even on the territory of settlements, there is hare-rusak, the peculiar feature is that their number is bigger in anthropogenic landscapes than in the natural ones.
Typical inhabitants of back-waters are beavers, which appeared here at the beginning of 80-ies of the XX century, and musquashes. At the beginning of 90-ies of the XX century near Svyatogorsk and other settlements there were a lot of squirrels. Now you can only see them in mixed forests of the right bank in Teplynske forestry. The matter is that the greatest part of them were fed on the remains of foodstuffs of sanatoriums and recreation houses, the number of which in the years of economic decay has sharply decreased. Besides, for several years running there wasn't the harvest of cones and a population of forest martens andnawks huntering squirrels has appeared.
The fauna and ecology of the mouselike rodents is not enough studied yet. The number of mice and vole(mouse) in flood-lands forests and oak trees is very high though it is not stated exactly. Apart from the typical species rather wide-spread are sinotropnye — grey rat and domestic mouse. They are the main forage base for different predator birds and animals.
To make it possible for the park to fulfill its tasks its territory is divided into zones with differentiating regimes of natural resources protection and use. In the economic zone (about 9,4 % of the territory) there is housing, production, cultural and communal objects. The zone of stationary recreation (4,7%) is for placing recreational establishments and for the sphere of service. For a short rest, walks and ecological tourism there is the zone of regulated recreation (79,4% of the territory). Here it is allowed to put forest "furniture", to organize stationary fires, to form tourist routes and ecological paths, to carry out some forest economical arrangements.
The regime is stricter in the preserve zone which is not allowed to be visited by tourists. Its territory is 6,5% of the whole territory of the park. It is the territory of reserves, nature mementos, valuable nature complexes and objects that preserved best of all.
In the nearest future it is planned to enlarge the national natural park for more than 10 thousand hectaress. First of all, the park should take the unprotected part of the area of water of Siverskyj Donets which forms the valuable landscapes being the main most attractive factor for tourists.
From the book: Donetsk Region. Inversection of civilizations. Book one.
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