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Russian Zapovedniks and National Parks

<<< National Park "Zyuratkul" | Index and Map | Zapovednik "Altaisky" >>>

Western Siberia

The list of the Western Siberia Zapovedniks (Nature Reserves) and National Parks:

This is a vast region, comprising the mountains systems of Altai, Kuznetskii Alatau and Salair; steppe and forest-steppe massifs, a wide zone of the western-Siberian taiga, and the forest-tundra and tundra in Yamal and Gydan peninsulas, and also smaller Arctic islands (Belyi, etc.).

Western Siberia includes the Republic of Gorny Altai, the Yamalo-Nenetskii and Khanty-Mansiiskii Okrug, the Altai Territory (Ktai), the Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk, and Tyumen regions.

The main natural axis of the Region is the Ob River, with its main tributary of Irtysh. The river-heads of the Ob are the rivers of Biya and Katun, which rise in the Altai Mountains, whose main mountain (Mount Belukha) has an altitude of 4506 m. The sources of Irtysh and its big tributary Tobol are beyond Russia. The most important tributary of the upper reaches of the Ob River is the Tom River, which rises in the Kuznetskii Alatau Mountains, and the rest (Ket, Tym; Vasyugan, Yugan and others) take their origin in the watershed swamps of the Western-Siberian Lowlands, which accounts for vast spaces between the Irtysh, Ob and Yenisei rivers. In the north of the Region, another two big northern rivers, i.e. Pur and Taz, flow into the Ob Mouth.

For a long time only the southern Western Siberia was settled, where headed migrants from the European Russia and where agriculture developed intensively. During the Soviet period industrial centers of Kuzbass came into being (Novokuznetsk and Kemerovo); the provincial Novonikolaevsk became the capital of Siberia Novosibirsk, renowned for its Akademgorodok (academic village); the old University city of Tomsk turned into a city of nuclear industry. Omsk plants manufacture thousands of most sophisticated mechanisms, including aircrafts.

Great changes took place in the northern districts, where in the 1960s, world-important oil and gas fields were discovered to provide energy not only to our country but to many countries of Europe. Through the forest and swamps, railroads were constructed, and at the site of backward villages new cities appeared as Surgut, Nizhnevartovsk, Nadym, Urengoi and many others.

All that could not help affecting the nature of the Region, which cannot sustain such an impact even despite its gigantic size. The majority of the rivers of Western Siberia have been polluted by petroleum products-accidents of various kinds in pipelines are fairly frequent. The gas content of the air in industrial centers is great; the huge forestland areas have been cut over or disturbed by fires. The areas of taiga and tundra, where indigenous people were engaged in traditional subsistence (Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and others, engaged in hunting, fishing and reindeer herding). Only during the last years they did become entitled to laying claims to the lands belonging to them and to the traditional subsistence practices that they are used to.

All that determined the development of a fairly active environmental protection movement during the last decades. Until 1976, in the entire Western Siberia, there has existed a single Altai Reserve, whereas there are seven reserves in existence to date. As early as in 1917 it was planned to reserve a plot of the Barabinskaya forest-steppe in the region of lake Chany, but it has not been done so far. In addition to the Shorsky National Park in the Kemerovo Region, there are local nature parks of the municipal level (e.g., Kondinskie Ozera Nature Park in the Soviet district of the Khanty-Mansiiskii Okrug, and also several big republican sanctuaries (zakazniks): Verkhne-Kondinskii, Elizarovskii, Kirzinskii, Stepnoi and a number of others).

Of great value in the region are such natural features as band coniferous forests in the Kulunda Steppe (Novosibirsk Region and Altai Territory), some peculiar large lakes in the southern Tyumen Region renowned not only for waterfowl but also rare avian species listed in the Red Data Book, tundra landscapes of Yamal and other regions of the Far North.

The ecological movement and scientific community promoted the arrest of the construction of the Katun Hydroelectric Power Station, which endangered the unique nature of mountain Altai; and this example is not single.

The entire Western Siberia has become a sort of testing ground to check the results of heavy human impact on the Environment and their efforts for envirnmental protection.

The list of the Western Siberia Zapovedniks (Nature Reserves) and National Parks:

 

<<< National Park "Zyuratkul" | Index and Map | Zapovednik "Altaisky" >>>

 

 


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