The Red Forest
Following the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, an area (4-6 km2) of coniferous forest was killed by high levels of radiation. The affected area has become known as the 'Red Forest' as the needles of the trees turned red (or, more accurately, orange) in 1986 prior to their death. The Red Forest subsequently regenerated to some extent with deciduous trees (which are less sensitive to radiation than coniferous species) and understorey vegetation. The area is the most anthropogenically contaminated radioactive ecosystem on earth and reports of effects on its wildlife continue to be published. See our recent papers:
In July 2016 there was a severe fire in the Red Forest when approximately 80% of the forest was burnt. The RED FIRE project conducted studies in the Red Forest over the year after the fire. Results from this work are being analysed and written-up but in the meantime you can find a summary of our activities below.
We have updated this page given the interest in the effects of fires in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) as a consequence of widespread fires in April 2020.