Methodology of zoological surveys in Ukraine. Field studies

In Ukraine there are 416 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians, 120 species of mammals, and 28 species of bats and over 27 000 species of plants. They are spread irregularly on the territory of Ukraine because of the following factors: terrain, climate conditions, water resources, vegetation. Some species of animals are spread only on the areas with suitable conditions for life.

The specialized institutions and scientific and survey centers carry out the investigations of flora and fauna in Ukraine. They study and systematize the exemplars of flora and fauna, make observations through using national and foreign methodologies. Besides, the scientists monitor the antropogenic impact on flora and fauna, publish the scientific reports and participate in conferences and symposiums.

Within providing of consulting services in the field of environmental protection and compliance with the ecological legislation a necessity of monitoring of flora and fauna conditions on the site of planned activity is increased.  Significantly the necessity of surveys was increased in the process of EIA. Within the environmental impact assessment field studies are carried out to determine an intensity and character of impact on flora and fauna. Field studies are conducted by the botanist, ornithologists, chiropterologists, entomologists, herpetologists and mammologists.

The ornithologists study birds, their species composition and define the migration routes, breeding or non-breeding birds. Various methodologies are used for bird’s survey. It depends on aims of surveys and seasons. Ornithological surveys are divided into:

  1. Counting at points – observation at designated point. This survey is suitable for recording migratory birds. Pointed recording of birds is carried out independently on weather conditions. Ornithologist records the flocks or bird, the height, direction, route and time of flight.
  2. Counting at routes:

– On foot at transect and designated site. Transect is a line route for birds record with defined width and length of surveyed area (an optimal square – 1.5-2 km). Ornithologist records the order, gender and age of birds. Also, on map the place of bird recording is fixed. Transects are not established near water basins or rivers because of numerous of birds at designated area;

–  Counting by cars is carried out to survey more area by established route. For example, counting by cars is good at swamp areas.

Every 2-3 years ornithologists monitor birds in different regions of Ukraine. Monitoring is aimed to determine the status of bird population, species composition, number and conditions of nesting habitat.

If in the process of environmental impact assessment ornithological surveys were conducted, and within a few years as object was launched is required to carry out post-project monitoring of environmental status. Post-project monitoring is conducted to define how the planned activity impacts on environment and biodiversity.

The specialists who study bats called chiropterologist (bat specialists). Bats counting are carried out in two ways:

  • At night with using ultrasonic equipment (bat-detectors) that record the number of exemplars. Data of bat-detectors are read regardless to the scope of received information and transferred for interpretation.
  • Observation of residential and non-residential buildings, outbuilding, henhouses and sheds located close to surveyed point. Bat specialist reviews the roofs of these buildings and signs of bats life. Because, naturally, bats choose the safe and sheltered habitat.

Entomologists study the insects, – the most various group of animals in Ukraine. It`s important to investigate them because of they improve a fertility of soils, pollinate plants, contribute soil formation and in the same time are a food for other animals. The methodologies are used for insects survey:

  • Attracting on light with using lamps. Such researches are held at night and, as usual, are more effective in comparison with others methods;
  • Direct visual observation is held at day by making photos and videos of recorded exemplars.

  The start of surveys is on the earlier spring because of the beginning of bird migration and after wintering. Usually, ornithological surveys at spring last 2-2.5 months. At summer botanical and bat surveys are carried out. Birds recording are conducted, but not intensive. An autumn is the main period of migratory bird’s surveys, but investigations are begun in mid-August and last to October. In winter the record of wintering birds is conducted. The duration of winter surveys depends on region and lasts, usually, 5 days each month up to March.

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