Iurii Strus, State Museum of Natural History, Ukraine
xBird xForest xHabitat xLogging X2016Scholar x2016Talk xTalk xScholar xUkraine xeurope
Organization name: State Museum of Natural History of NAS of Ukraine
*-Organization full street address (in your local format): 18, Teatralna str., Lviv 79008, Ukraine
*-Organization full mailing address, if different: same
*-Work phone with country and area code: +380322356917
*-Work fax with country and area code: +380322356917
*-Main email: email@example.com
*-Organization Web site URL if any: http://www.smnh.org/
describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: I started to use GIS when I was a PhD student at Lviv University. While studying there I had access to free copy of ArcGIS 9.3 and this program was my first experience in GIS. I have never studied GIS as a discipline at the university. Therefore, I am self-taught “specialist”. During my PhD i studied vulnerable taxa of birds – waders (shorebirds; Charadrii) and there was need to analyze distribution of this group of rare birds in north-west Ukraine. So, I created a lot of maps using existing shape files from open sources and drew a lot of layers myself basing on Google Earth and Landsat satellite images. In addition, I tried to analyze multispectral satellite images (Landsat) in ArcGis and Erdas Imagine. I wanted to classify habitats in west Ukraine in order to predict possible distribution of waders breeding colonies. I thought that if I created map of distribution of wet meadows I would be able to predict waders’ distribution and to calculate their population size basing on estimated density in suitable habitats multiplied by total habitat area. Eventually I created map of grasslands, but it was actually to general, for practical usage, because some crop fields were undistinguishable from wet grasslands in their spectral characteristics. Map of habitats based on Landsat images was to bold for my purposes. Then, when I started to work at State Museum of Natural History, I became involved to international project on Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) study and conservation. My task in this project is to analyze spatial distribution of Black Stork nests in relation to distribution of old fragments of forests in Western Polissia area of Ukraine. Therefore, for last three years I create maps of Black Stork distribution in West Polissia, georeference existing maps of forest habitats of Rivne region and analyze mentioned relation. Project on Black Stork has direct conservation application for this rare bird species and even for other forest dwelling animals. Basing on our analysis in GIS of distribution of Storks and of distribution of old forests we managed to force local forestry companies to create special conservation zones in places important for this rare bird. Also, I lead another one project (http://www.rufford.org/projects/lurii_strus) concerned with conservation of some rare waders (Eurasian Curlew, Great Snipe and Common Snipe) in Western Polissia. The “wader” project has several aims: (a) to estimate more precisely current population size of mentioned species in North-west Ukraine, (b) to define current breeding ranges of these waders and (c) to perform educational campaign with conservation emphasis for local people. In “wader” project, I use GIS to create maps of species distribution and to store coordinates of nesting locations of rare waders taken by GPS.
describe the work that your current organization does:I work at State Museum of Natural History in Lviv, Ukraine. It is local organization with 200-year history. The museum is affiliated to National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Therefore, my organization is half-museum half-scientific institution. Our museum is quite big organization (40 scientists and other personal) and therefore has many directions of work. Great part of the staff is involved in educational work for local people (e.g. exhibition, events for children). Other direction is scientific and related with biological and geological studies. We have three scientific departments. One department works on taxonomical issues and mainly and has almost nothing incommon with conservation of nature. Other two departments work in field of ecology, botany, zoology and soil studies. Our museum is one of the leading organization in whole west Ukraine (alongside with Lviv University and Instute of Carpathians ecology) which conduct research related to nature conservation. Actually, majority of projects in which we are involved have conservation application. In addition, the museum provides environmental expertise when state or private companies intend to do something potentially harmful for nature (e.g. to install wind turbines for electricity generation, or to build new road). Within the museum, I work at the department of biodiversity and landscape diversity, in laboratory of vertebrate zoology. I am junior scientist there (leading engineer). Because funding in Ukraine is very limited, our laboratory always tries to find some support from international funding organizations (“CICONIA” fund, Rufford Foundation and so on) to conduct research and conservation activities in West Ukraine. During last 5 years, we have been working in several projects, and I am involved to each as ornithologist and as person responsible for preparation of maps and analysis in GIS. First project is concerned with study and conservation of Black Stork Ciconia nigra in forests of Western Polissia. Second is concerned with study and conservation of rare waders (Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, Great Snipe Gallinago media and Common Snipe G. gallinago) on wet meadows and fen mires of Western Polissia. Third project is concerned with estimation of potential impact of planned wind plant on biodiversity. The last one, is concerned with estimation of impact of high-voltage power lines on birds. First and second project are strongly depended on GIS analysis. In third and fourth projects I only made some maps in GIS.
describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: Actually everything that our team does in field of nature/bird conservation in our region is unique, because in Ukraine in general, not many specialists work in field of nature conservation, especially of rare birds conservation. Apart of work in Natural History Museum, I am also vice-president of West-Ukrainian Ornithological Society, the only ornithological society in West Ukraine. Therefore I have exact idea what is been doing in field of bird study and conservation in this particular region. As in many low-income countries not many attention is paid to nature conservation here. Local people usually are busy with more earthly problems and frequently do not understand the value of nature protection or misunderstand it. Therefore, any activity in nature conservation is quite rare here and should be appreciated. As far as I know, among people involved in bird study and conservation in West Ukraine only 3 use GIS in their practice. Therefore, GIS only starts to spread in nature conservation in our region (region bigger than whole Greece for instance).
Paper shows changes in conservation practice in forests of three forestry companies in Western Polissia of Ukraine after justification of these changes basing on provided data and analysis of distribution of nests and nesting territories of rare bird species – Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). In the analysis, these factors were taken into account: forest logging, level of forest fragmentation, age of forests and prevailing species of trees on breeding plots.