Chernobyl Mono-Cropped


This article looks at biodiversity in the Chernobyl Zone of Alienation. Much contemporary media attention on the Chernobyl Zone sends a message that the aftermath of nuclear destruction has returned the territory to a state of natural order. Tour agencies and journalists promote the Zone as a preserve, alive with wildlife. But the story is more complicated than that. In the twentieth century, modern technologies streamlined the cultural, demographic, and biological diversity of the region. This essay argues that these processes of simplification were related—that mono-cropped populations of the thirties and forties led to genetically and biologically depleted flora and fauna in the twenty-first century.