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Kostroma taiga scientific experimental station

Moose calves at the Kostroma biological station

White-fronted geese during the spring flight stop in the valley of the river Unzha

The Kostroma taiga scientific experimental station was established in 1977 as a field and experimental base of the Institute for studying the ecology of forest animals and the dynamics of plant communities. The station is located in the Kostroma region on the right bank of the Unzha River, a large tributary of the Volga (58o N, 44o E). The station's territory is characterized by a variety of forest types associated with the proximity of the border between the southern taiga and mixed forests. There is also a mixture of faunas of species of northeastern European, eastern (Siberian), southern (from the zone of broad-leaved forests) origin. The territory where the station is located is not contaminated with heavy and radioactive metals; there are no human settlements for tens of kilometers. Forests cover 70–90% of the territory; in remote areas of the taiga, the number of game animals is high.

A complex of open-air fenced territories (the largest of which covers an area of 150 hectares) has been built at the station for keeping ungulates, which allows conducting research in conditions close to natural. During the existence of the station, the ecology and behavior of bison, cattle, elk, and wild boars were only studied in the enclosures. Using aerial and space photographs of the territory taken from 1963 to the present, it is possible to trace the dynamics of forest fragmentation, changes in river valleys under the influence of beaver activity, overgrowing of burnt areas after large fires in 1972, and overgrowing of fields and meadows after the industrial processing in the area was stopped.

A number of studies on the ecology and behavior of mammals, birds, insects have been carried out at the station. For 27 years, complex studies of biocenoses have been carried out in the area of the station by geographers, soil scientists, botanists, and zoologists. Constant attention is paid to the influence of human activity aimed both at nature conservation and its change (land reclamation, chemical methods of forest care) and its destruction (poaching).

Since the first years of the station's existence, the institute has been fighting for the creation of a reserve in the vicinity of the station. The first victory was the preservation of a piece of virgin forest that received the status of Natural Monument - “Kologriv Forest”.

The entire history of the station is associated with student practices, admission of numerous groups of schoolchildren. Students and schoolchildren from all over Russia visit both in summer and during the snowy season. Employees of the Institute lead classes for them. The principle of "science as research" is used, the children independently study certain aspects of the ecology of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, collect herbariums of plants, and participate in scientific projects.