Students take 160 kg of soil samples to study effects of fires on Yamal tundra
© RIA Novosti. L. Vaysman

Students take 160 kg of soil samples to study effects of fires on Yamal tundra

Students have collected around 160 kg of soil samples in the Yamal Peninsula's Tazovsky District to study the effects fires have had on the territory, the Tyumen State University's (TyumGU) website reports. The work was carried out as part of TyumGU's summer school. Students from TyumGU, St.Petersburg State University, Ryazan State University and the University of Muenster in Germany took part.  

"Our main task is to study the effect the fires over the years have had on soil and plant development," said Andrei Yurtayev, head of TyumGU's international integrated research laboratory for the study of climate, land use and biodiversity. "We first identified the spread of fires over various years since the early 1990s, and, based on this, studied 40 sites with the corresponding number of soil cross sections and botanical descriptions."

The work has practical applications too, in particular for studying what is happening because of the hydrocarbon pollution to the reindeer grazing lands. "Aside from the fires, the flares at the numerous gas fields in the region also contribute to the problem," the university website's press release said. "The university is now working on assessing reindeer grazing lands' bio-resources, and so the results of this summer school fit in with the general areas of research for which there is demand today in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area."    

The summer field school is organised by interregional expedition centre Arktika. The centre helps scientists to organise the field work for research projects at specially equipped stations or in the uninhabited tundra. An emergency situation was declared in Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area on July 23, when the temperature rose to above 30 degrees. The emergency situation was lifted on August 10. More than 170,000 hectares of forest burned in the region.