Red Forest in Chernobyl – Radiation and Dead Trees

Red Forest in Chernobyl – Radiation and Dead Trees

Red forest in the Chernobyl zone. What happens there after 31 years?

The red forest is a unique corner of the Chernobyl nature, which suffered from the effects of radiation in 1986 after the Chernobyl accident.

Red Forest in Chernobyl

Red Forest in Chernobyl

Pines that grew on this site measuring about 10 km², turned yellow (burnt) from radiation, taking over the cloud of saws flying from the station.

Photo by Ivan Eremenko

Radiation in the Red Forest

Radiation in the Red Forest was 1-2 X-rays, so the trees were piled up and buried in trenches on the site where they grew up.

The forest is still dangerous

Now the forest is being restored, but it looks rather strange. Radiation is still very high, and it is very dangerous there.

Affected trees in the Red Forest

The crown of the pines is quite dense and is an effective filter, which has delayed a significant amount of radioactive dust and aerosols in the crowns of these trees. Pine does not shed needles for 2-3 years, which causes a slow natural cleaning of the crowns compared with the trees of hardwood. This factor increased the radiation damage of conifers in comparison with other breeds.

Affected trees in the Red Forest immediately after the Chernobyl accident – 1986:

How the Red Forest Deactivated

To decontaminate the territory of the Forest site, different methods were proposed. Even before the end of discussions on the methods of decontamination of works, in 1987, around the dead forest was piled a shaft 2.5 meters high and a total length of about 3.5 km.

The burials of the dead trees, forest undergrowth and the topsoil were carried out by felling, raking and laying in trenches followed by backfilling with a layer of soil about 1 meter thick. For these purposes, special military equipment was used.

Chernobyl exclusion zone