Table of contents:
- What have the mountains forgotten in the steppe?
- And if you dig deeper?
- It's just beetles and ordinary grass
- You see the Red Book everywhere
- Is it legal to ignore biologists?
- One mountain, another mountain - what's the difference?
- Who will pay for the banquet?
- I must say right away that the option is terrible, the damage from it is even worse
- What are the defenders of the shihan and the HRC suggesting?
Petitions for the preservation of the shihan Kushtau has already gained 10 thousand signatures, and thousands of people from all over Bashkiria are taking part in flash mobs for the preservation of the limestone mountain; activists stand in single pickets on the streets of Sterlitamak, Ufa, Nefteyugansk, Barcelona and even New York. To start cutting down the forest (illegal, but more on that later), the Bashkir Soda Company has to hire private security companies and "titushki", and OMON in full ammunition comes to the environmental clean-up day. How did it happen? Vasilisa Yagodina, media coordinator of the Greenpeace forest program, explains why it is not comme il faut to beat people with truncheons, but Kushtau should live.
After 10 years of petitions and flash mobs, Shihan Kushtau may finally receive protection status, the head of Bashkortostan promised to transfer the documents for this to the Ministry of Natural Resources on September 4. He gave the floor.
From the point of view of the ecological scientific community, the Bashkir shikhans are a unique object that should be protected. They should receive the status of a national park, and not another quarry of the Bashkir Soda Company (BSK). Now you yourself will understand why.
What have the mountains forgotten in the steppe?
If you go from Ufa to Sterlitamak, then on the horizon you will always see twin mountains, Bashkir shikhans. Around the endless steppe, cities and towns, mountains or hills, nothing portends. And they stand here apart, and for a long time.
Mountains Kushtau, Yuraktau and Toratau are the remnants of ancient reefs, they were formed more than 230 million years ago, when the Ural Ocean was on the site of Sterlitamak.
Now it is hard to believe, but water splashed over the Shikhans in the Triassic period of the Mesozoic, and later ichthyosaurs lived in it.
It's not even killer whales, before them - millions of years of evolution and a couple of mass extinctions. Google it somehow Mesozoic, the fantastic era - the Jurassic period known to all - was just then.
So, the shihans in the Triassic period were not shihans at all (there was no one to call them that), but reefs and hid under water. The modern steppe with villages and the administration of the republic was the ocean floor. What Sterlitamak, what Ufa, what Radiy Faritovich - please swim between algae, sponges and bryozoans. Oh, how "young" the dinosaurs were, it's scary to imagine.
Only 230 million years have passed, the reefs have become mountains, and the Bashkir Soda Company came to the mountains for limestone. In 70 years, she managed to do what no one else had succeeded in doing - to tear down one of the shikhans, Shakhtau, to zero. Such a beautiful career turned out in its place, only sad.
Three "surviving" mountains out of four - Kushtau, Yuraktau and Toratau - are included in the list of geological heritage sites of world significance. They do not occupy the last place there.
They also deservedly got into the short-list of the "Seven Wonders of Russia" project. Truly miracles: where will you touch the Mesozoic in 2020?
And if you dig deeper?
Perhaps the most fascinating thing from a biological point of view is happening now not even in the forest, but in the soil and in the forest litter on Kushtau. In addition to the fossilized remains of the ancient inhabitants of the seas, a whole world of rare and endangered species has been preserved on the shihan. What the layman calls mud is actually the habitat of soil invertebrates. And "nasty gnats" are actually Red Book insects.
If you are afraid of spiders, this is not about them. Friends from the Red Book live on Kushtau: an Armenian bumblebee, a hermit wax, mnemosyne (a great name for a butterfly), a stag beetle and a carpenter bee. The loss of these guys, firstly, is irreparable and will lead to bad consequences, and secondly, if irreplaceability and consequences are not an argument, then the destruction of their habitat is estimated at billions of rubles in environmental damage.After all, is it possible to produce soda somehow more humanely and at a lower price? There are also technologies without limestone.
It's just beetles and ordinary grass
Common grass is sedge, but even it grows for a reason, and you shouldn't mindlessly mow it. But on Kushtau, the rarest specimens of flora have been preserved. Including the Red Book. That is, those plants that we all need to protect and, if possible, preserve, and not this is all.
But I will start not with the Red Book, but with the obvious - the distinguishing feature of the Shihan Kushtau. He, a prehistoric limestone giant, is almost entirely covered with forest. Compared to him, Yuraktau and Toratau look like the elder brothers of a handsome man with hair. On Kushtau the forest is closed, it is convenient (crossed out - to run away from the riot police) to walk, it is easier to breathe here, dust from the Shakhtau quarry and from the soda baths of the BSK does not reach here. It was with the clearing of this forest that the explosive stage of protests for the preservation of the shikhans began.
Ten years of flash mobs, petitions, reports and requests - cutting down trees on Kushtau was the last straw.
On the territory of the shikhan, 42 plant species grow, belonging to the rare plants of the Urals and the Urals, 18 of them are included in the Red Book of Bashkiria. What if you like Latin? Here are some rare plants from the Shihan: Hedysarum grandiflorum (aka penny grass), Koeleria sclerophylla (or thin-legged), Stipa pennata (just feathery feather grass).
If we use the method of calculating the damage caused by the loss of rare species, the destruction of shihan plants will “cost” 91.8 million rubles. And this flora cannot be restored.
You see the Red Book everywhere
Not everywhere, the feature of rare and endangered species is that they are extremely rare outside the walls of museums. Bashkir biologists did not rely on the leadership of the republic, which has not given Kushtau a protective status for 10 years, and spent 4 years of research on the shikhan. Rare species are a worthy and strong enough argument for creating a specially protected natural area, they thought.
Any research assumes a hypothesis and its confirmation or refutation. Biologists assumed that rare specimens of insects, plants and soil invertebrates could survive on Kushtau. The mountain did not appear there on its own, its history is oh-oh (you have not googled with the Mesozoic yet?), Most likely, enough scientific discoveries can be made on it. And so it happened.
Scientists discovered more than 40 species in the Red Data Book, collected a 44-page report and sent it to the leadership of Bashkortostan.
If you want - here are those cherished 44 pages.
Do you think the officials carefully studied this report and listened to the biologists? But no.
Is it legal to ignore biologists?
Actually, no, but in this particular case - doubly not. Through field research, biologists found rare and endangered species, and the research results were not hidden under the pillow or put on the table - they were published and sent to the leadership of Bashkortostan. And the leadership of the republic did not do anything with the biologists' report; it did not give the protected status of the territory inhabited by such rarities. It should have.
It so happened historically that Russia is a federation, and federal laws are binding on all its subjects, including the authorities of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The destruction of the Red Data Book species (any) and their habitat is a violation of two federal laws. The Federal Laws "On Environmental Protection" and "On the Animal Kingdom" explicitly prohibit actions leading to the destruction of the habitat of species listed in the Red Data Books. Deforestation, geological exploration, and then the extraction of limestone on the shikhans, neither from the point of view of common sense, nor from the point of view of the norms of Russian law, cannot be considered legal. It is a crime.
One mountain, another mountain - what's the difference?
A forest grows on Kushtau and mnemosyne flies, but on other shikhans there is no such thing. Yuraktau and Toratau also have their own atmosphere, but they have a different one, not like Kushtau.Two of the three shikhans have already received a conservation status, Kushtau simply did not have time - plans to make it a natural monument in the program of the republic's leadership were spelled out in 2015.
But the Bashkir Soda Company and the new (relatively) head of the republic are playing tag with shihans, changing decisions on development from one mountain to another, as if they are interchangeable and have no special value. This is not so, we have three unique natural objects, each has an individual ecosystem, and it is important to preserve each of them. Whatever the people with megaphones say, exploration is not a conversation with a friend, and limestone mining is not a spa, and no stag beetle would want to put up with it.
Who will pay for the banquet?
Let's imagine the worst case scenario. On September 4, Radiy Khabirov does not send any documents anywhere, they magically disappear, the manuscripts begin to burn, and Woland is on vacation. The team of the head of the republic continues “not to give out its own people”, forcibly breaks the remaining eco-activists, and no one notices the lawlessness (perhaps a meteorite is flying and everyone is not up to it now). Tens of thousands of people suddenly do not care what will happen to the nature of the region, and people at the UN headquarters in New York leave posters #KushtauLive and go to play volleyball. Kushtau is given for development.
I must say right away that the option is terrible, the damage from it is even worse
There are very tedious methods of calculating environmental damage. If you like, you can explore and count at your leisure. Just don't do damage at home, I ask you.
So, when developing the Shihan Kushtau, the amount of damage starts from 120 billion rubles. More than seven - for the destruction of the habitat of soil invertebrates, rare plants and insects, more than 112 billion - for the destruction of the fertile soil layer.
And this is without taking into account the deforestation on the shikhan during exploration, without taking into account the loss of a favorable environment by the inhabitants of neighboring villages - in the case of industrial limestone mining. A salary in the conventional 15 thousand rubles (and even in the average for the hospital 35) this damage can in no way justify. We will not undertake to calculate spiritual losses and moral damage.
What are the defenders of the shihan and the HRC suggesting?
In order to solve the problem of the shikhans once and for all and remove the threat of development from these natural sites, all three mountains need to be given the status of a national park. Conservation regime will allow to preserve the species and their habitat.
By uniting the shikhans into a national park, the Republic of Bashkortostan will be able to preserve unique ecosystems, and leave sacred places untouched, and develop ecological tourism. Coexist with the wonders of nature, not destroy them. And you certainly won't have to bludgeon the activists with truncheons anymore. To save jobs, you don’t need to shed blood, you need to listen to scientists and invest resources in modern and sustainable technologies - instead of paying for rallies and publicity in the media.
On the third of September we will again remember the song and turn over, and on the fourth we will find out whether one influential person in Bashkiria keeps his word. And will Fedor Konyukhov have time to sketch the shikhans from nature.