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Russian Zapovedniks and National Parks

<<< National Park "Samarskaya Luka" | Index and Map | Zapovednik "Dagestansky" >>>

Southern Russia

The list of Southern Russia Zapovedniks (Nature Reserves) and National Parks:

The region of Northern Caucasus conventionally includes the Rostov Region, the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories and a number of autonomous republics that are directly adjacent to the main Caucasus Range. The largest of them is Dagestan, facing the Caspian Sea on the east.

The northern part of the region belongs to the zone of European steppes, but the former steppe nature has been heavily modified under the impact of agriculture. The sheep's fescue and feather-grass plant communities have been replaced by wheat croplands, and only in ravines one can find the original dwellers of these areas, including bobacs, jerboas, hamsters and steppe polecats. The spotted polecat, notable for its coloration, has become very rare and is listed in the Red Data Book along with the steppe eagle, great bustard and little bustard, which became almost extinct in Northern Caucasus although were common some time back.

The characteristic feature of the northern Rostov Region is bairak forests, bairak meaning ravines and associate tree species (maples, elms and ashes, etc.). Occasionally, on sandy soils pines are planted. The entire plain part of the region is characterized by diverse man-made field protection plantations. To the south, within the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories stretches the broad Ciscaucasus zone, where steppes and fields are first replaced by forest-steppe landscapes, and subsequently, by oak-ash, hornbeam and mixed groves, which are followed by broad-leaved forests.

The Caucasus is an ancient mountain country. The watershed range separating the basins of the Black and Caspian seas stretches from west to south-east over 1000 km. Both, nature, the composition of the population and the economy of this region are characterized by exceptional patchiness and complexity. This is largely determined by vertical zonality, i.e. the relationship between particular landscapes and the height, steepness and the aspect of the mountains.

Within the Russian Federation lie the northern slopes of the Great Caucasus and its highest mountains (Elbrus 5633 m, Shkhara 5201 m, etc,), and also the eastern and northwestern parts of the main range. One can find there the entire diversity of landscape from dry steppes and forest-steppes in the piedmont to the alpine meadows, snow patches and glaciers on the mountain tope. But the broadest zone is occupied by broad-leaved and coniferous forests on the mountain slopes with oak, beech, ash, chestnut trees and also the Caucasian species of the spruce and fir. In addition, the eastern part of the main range is characterized by a presence of valuable fruit bearing trees and shrubs.

Found among them are numerous representatives of the so-called "Kolkhida" subtropical flora. Characteristic for the southern Caucasus are the liana floodplain forests, which within Russia, occur only in some Dagestan areas (Samur River).

The plant diversity is matched by that of the wildlife. The region has numerous endemics, i.e., forms that do not occur in any other places. There are some specific subspecies of deer and wild boar, bear, and marten. In fact the distribution range of the Caucasian tur is only restricted to the Caucasus The leopard, which was sighted until recently, has now become extinct. The Caucasian European bison, destroyed in the 1920s, was restored during the prewar years thanks to the import of European bisons and the European-American bison crosses from Europe. There are many Caucasian endemic birds, reptiles, and, particularly, insects, far from all of them being known to science.

The list of Southern Russia Zapovedniks (Nature Reserves) and National Parks:

 

<<< National Park "Samarskaya Luka" | Index and Map | Zapovednik "Dagestansky" >>>

 

 


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