|Date||4 May 2004|
Daphne’04 is a project of a team of Ukrainian conservationists aimed at initiation of protection actions for two endangered plant species, Daphne sophia Kalen. and Hedysarum ucrainicum B. Kaschm. The origin of the project idea rooted in pilot studies which show real levels of rarity of endemic chalk plant species in Ukraine. So, when much efforts in plant conservation work are now devoted to exotic tropical or endemic island species, some others are balanced on the brink of extinction just in Europe, not far from the main centres of conservation policies. Both species being in the focus of the project obviously fall into such category.
They are components of unique plant communities of chalk outcrops and endemics of Seversky Donets river basin. Daphne sophia was formerly one of the typical species of edges of pine forests formed by chalk ecotype of Scotch pine. The decline of the species was caused by drastic collapse of pine forests as a result of lasting human disturbance. The range of Daphne sophia was severely fragmented. Hedysarum ucrainicum is an endemic species of Aydar river basin with rather restricted range. Only about 10 local populations of the species were known in last century.
The overall aim of the project is to assess the current state and distribution of both species in Ukraine and to initiate protection measures by bringing popularised project results to local schools directly. We have planned to locate and map populations of Daphne sophia and Hedysarum ucrainicum in Ukraine, to assess their vitality and possible factors of threat, to organise an educational campaign in local schools for teachers of biology and schoolboys (lectures, excursions, installation of information boards), to set the priorities for the conservation of both focus species and to disseminate project results in a form of concise information sheets within regional and international conservationists' communities.