Chronicles of Nature of Russian protected areas: Digitization and data mobilization

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Zapovednik transect
Boots on the ground during a transect in a Russian nature reserve. Photo by mental_surfeit via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Chronicles of Nature are a standard report format in use since the 1960s that collects the annual for phenology and biodiversity data in the region's nature reserves. These reports include data gathered by professional researchers using standardized methodologies in a system of very strictly protected areas, or zapovedniks, that represents the world’s first continent-wide long-term monitoring scheme, initiated decades before LTER and NEON and is, at many sites, ongoing.

Taken together, each Chronicles series represents a long-term dataset on phenological phenomena, including the abundance and diversity of animals and plants, providing an important source for assessing changing patterns of biodiversity, including impacts of climate change. These Chronicles are not yet digitized in many reserves, meaning that some long-term datasets have not appeared in scientific literature and remain unavailable to researchers.

The Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve was the first Russian institution responsible for managing of especially protected natural territories to publish its Chronicles dataset through This project aims to provide a template for mobilizing data from Chronicles elsewhere by:

  • sharing the experience of the Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve with staff of other Russian protected areas
  • training employees of scientific departments of other institutions under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (Minprirody)
  • preparing Russian-language guides for digitizing data from Chronicles of Nature reports

The project expects to lead to the publication of more than 20,000 new records of biodiversity and phenological data from European Russia nature reserves through

Project Progress

In the first part of the project, it has helped 10 Nature Reserves from European Russia being registered as new GBIF publishers, and made 7 checklist datasets (with a total of 10,093 records) as well as 9 occurence and sampling event datasets (with a total of 20,734 occurrences) that has been published through

The project has created a guide book for Protected Areas staff which contains detailed instructions for digitization of different biodiversity data types such as occurrence data for natural history collections, phenological data, checklist data for species diversity materials, as well as sampling event for berry yield data and surveys on sampling plots. The study guide is in Russian and will be available at the end of the project.

The project held a capacity enhancement workshop from the 1st to the 4th October near the Prioksko-Terrasnyi Biosphere Reserve. 25 paricipants from 20 institutions under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, who mangage Federal protected areas, was trained in data mobilization. The exercises were based on different data types presented in Chronicles of Nature.

At the end of project a total of 9 checklist datasets with a total of 10,272 records has been made along with the before mentioned 9 occurence and sampling event datasets. The project has published their guide book for protected areas online containing digitazation instructions, a sampling event and surveys.

€ {{ 7000 | localNumber }}
€ {{ 10212 | localNumber }}
1 Feb - 30 Nov 2019
Northern Eurasia
Project identifier
Funded by
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Yury Buyvolov
“Prioksko-Terrasnyi Biosphere Reserve”
Zapovednik, Danki
Serpukhovsky rayon
Moskovskaya oblast
Russian Federation, 142200

€ {{ 7000 | localNumber}}