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Siberian scientists plan to analyze nature conditions near Monchegorsk, Nickel, Zapolyarny

The expedition scientists study nature at the points of the industrial assets' strong, medium and weak impact - at a distance of up to 50 km from the company

MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Specialists in botanical, soil and zoology studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Siberian Branch will analyze biodiversity near Monchegosrsk in the Murmansk Region, and then - in Nickel and Zapolyarny, the Great Scientific Expedition's press service told TASS on Tuesday.

"This is an important step that will help us pen an action plan on how to preserve and, wherever required, restore biodiversity. We need to know where we are and what there is to do to improve the environmental situation if needed. This year we are working actively with the nature reserves - the Lapland and the Pasvik, which historically are located near industrial facilities of the Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company. They have a sufficient base and experience to accompany work of the kind," the press service quoted Evgeny Kurbatov, head of the environmental safety department at Norilsk Nickel's Kola Division.

The expedition scientists study nature at the points of the industrial assets' strong, medium and weak impact - at a distance of up to 50 km from the company. For example, ornithologists have collected data at four different points. The expedition will study, in addition to birds, small mammals and insects, as well as the soil cover. The soil samples will be tested at Novosibirsk laboratories. By using this comprehensive approach scientists and companies will assess accurately the degree of impact by the company's enterprises on nature.

"It is perfect that Norilsk Nickel conducts a study, which is comprehensive. This way we will be able to assess the work of an enterprise, the consequences, since production cycles have changed over recent decades. Now, at the reserve, we identify landscape-forming plant units. Further on, in cartographic programs we will draw a vegetation cover map. We also sample lichens, mosses, and fungi for tests. The collected material is then put on the database and analyzed. By comparing with other polygons, we will identify trends in changes of the vegetation cover diversity," said Evgeny Zibzeev, a senior researcher at the Siberian Branch's Botanical Garden's Laboratory of Ecology and Geo-Botany.

The basic biodiversity survey continues the work, which the Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) and the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian Branch began in 2020. This work has extended into three regions - the Kola Peninsula, the Krasnoyarsk Region's north and the Trans-Baikal Region. The current survey’s purpose is to identify Nornickel’s impact zones and to assess biodiversity in areas of Nornickel’s operations. The research results will be used in building out a corporate biodiversity management system and biodiversity monitoring and conservation programs.