|Date||27 Jul 2016|
Terrestrial molluscs are known to be one of the most threatened groups of organisms following vertebrates. More than third part (422) of all known species extinctions are of the terrestrial molluscs (Lydeard et al., 2004; Régnier et al., 2009, 2015). But in Ukraine no proper attention was given to conservation of these organisms. The first detailed review on this theme is my recently published book “Conservation of terrestrial molluscs in Ukraine” (Balashov, 2016).
Ukrainian steppes (natural dry grasslands) are habitats of high conservation importance. The steppe ecosystems were dominant during Pleistocene and early Holocene in southeastern Europe, but were mainly destructed till the 19 century. In Ukraine the restricted fragments of steppes are constitute only about 4% of the territory in the steppe zone of Ukraine. Most of them are not protected and threatened by the afforestation, excessive cattle grazing, haying and regular premeditated burning. At this the third part of all species that considered threatened and officially protected in Ukraine are the steppe inhabitants (Parnikoza & Vasyliuk, 2011).
Work on this project will be focused in the 4 main directions:
1. Clarification of the conservation statutes in Ukraine of some snail species related to the dry grasslands. First of all it concerns the species of Helicopsis, whose taxonomy is not clear, however most of the supposed species are threatened (Balashov, 2016). It requires field studies and collecting of additional materials. Also it will include searching of the populations of Zebrina detrita and Balea perversa, whose presence in Ukraine is not confirmed and situation is requires the field studies (Balashov, 2016).
2. Search of unknown populations of the threatened species, especially in the unprotected areas (species of Pupillidae, Chondrinidae, Truncatellina, Mediterranea, etc). In many of Ukrainian regions, especially in the centre of country, the dry grasslands almost not studied regarding land snails, therefore a lot of new data is expected. Many of areas that planned to be visited are not protected and if their conservation importance will be revealed, as it is expected, their conservation will be proposed.
3. Monitoring of a few known populations of threatened species that were not checked for the long time (Pupilla sterrii, Granaria frumentum, etc).
4. New scientific data and popularization of the conservation of land snails and dry grasslands. For this purpose a book about terrestrial molluscs of Southern Ukraine, few brochures, poster and scientific papers on the theme will be published.
Read about Igor's previous project http://www.rufford.org/projects/igor_balashov or for more information contact:
Helicopsis sp. snail in the dry grassland of Eastern Ukraine.
Snails of Chondrina arcadica on the rocks in the dry grassland of Podolian Upland, from an only known population of this species on the plains of Eastern Europe.
Helicopsis snail from Black Sea Lowland.