The history of nature observations and scientific research on the territory of Polistovsky Reserve before its creation can be divided into two stages.
The first one started in pre-revolutionary times, continued in the Soviet era and was connected with study of the structure of peat deposits and determination of peat quantity. The need for geological and geomorphological studies at that time was connected with the need of national economy of the country in development of new mineral deposits, as well as the study of mire drainage features to create more land suitable for agriculture. In the late 20's - early 30-ies of the XX century geological and geomorphological studies on the territory of Polistovo-Lovatskaya raised bog system were funded by the Leningrad branch of the Research Institute of peat.
The first studies of eastern Pskov wetland region were carried out in 1909 - 1914, V.N. Sukachev supervised this work. Studies were carried out by his students, primarily R.I. Abolin who developed epigenological classification of wetlands (Abolin, 1914). The work Kaks (1914) is also noteworthy, it emphasizes the importance of the water factor for raised bogs.
The Soviet period of studying Polistovo Lovatskaya raised bog system began in 1928. Great organizational role in it was played by D.A. Gerasimov. As a result of the rainy summer bad harvest started in Pskov region. People living in the villages in the bog, had to add milled sphagnum moss to the flour, which caused gastric diseases.
Great work on leveling the bog was organized on the right bank of Polist river and also investigations of straightening and deepening the river bed of Polist river. Bog research on the left bank was headed by Z.N. Smirnova, on the right bank - by I.D. Bogdanovskaya-Gienef. Materials of Z.N. Smirnova were lost during World War II and the work remained unfinished. Research of I.D. Bogdanovskaya-Gienef were published in a monograph "Mechanism of formation of sphagnum raised bogs on the example of Polistovo-Lovatskaya raised bog system" (I.D. Bogdanovskaya-Gienef, 1969). In this work there is a characteristic of vegetation and structure of the peat deposits, it is shown that the present distribution of plant groups and their changes in the past, and, consequently, the structure of the peat deposits are determined primarily by hydrological factors.
The first botanical and geobotanical research were conducted in parallel with the geological. On the basis of observations at Polistovo-Lovatsky raised bog system R.I. Abolin gave a description of the forms of bog pine (Abolin, 1915). Detailed vegetation characteristic is given in I.D. Bogdanovskaya-Gienef work.
The second stage was connected directly with planning and creation of the National Nature Reserve, with the determination of the boundaries of the protected area. Work on planning the National Nature Reserve started in the early 90-ies, it was coordinated by the State Committee on Ecology of Pskov region (now - The Federal Supervisory Natural Resources Management Service of Pskov region).
Organization that held surveying expedition was the Central Research Laboratory of the Department of protection and rational use of hunting resources on the basis of an agreement with the Federal Environmental Foundation (№ 12, 14.05.1993). The head of the work was biologist. PhD. V.V. Dezhkin, the head of planning and surveying group was leading specialist V.M. Zlobin. The group comprising experts in various fields of science: V.G. Smorkalov, zoologist PhD A.L. Mishchenko, botanist O.M. Sukhanov, cartographer V.V. Zhuravleva. They described and mapped boundaries of the reserve, gave the basic physical and geographical characteristics of the protected area, and composed the first list of flora and fauna of the Reserve.