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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Russian Federation


  General Description   The Astrakhanskiy Biosphere Reserve is situated some 90 km from the town Astrakhan in the Volga Delta. This largest inland delta in Europe is predominantly a freshwater riverine wetland complex with permanent and seasonal lakes and riverine floodplains. The area comprises a Ramsar site since its wetland support up to 750,000 waterfowls during mild winters.
A particular feature is the presence of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) a common species of the tropics - which here finds its northernmost distribution. This species increased in distribution from 3.5 hectares in the 1930s throughout the entire Volga Delta to several thousands of hectares in the biosphere reserve in the 1980s. Analysis of historic vegetation maps, aerial photography and satellite imagery has been used to describe the response of vegetation to substantial changes in the Caspian Sea level. Within the biosphere reserve, research carried out by the Moscow State University and the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation will continue to observe this changing ecosystem.
  Major ecosystem type   Freshwater riverine wetland complex; delta and fore-delta shallow freshwater zone
  Major habitats & land cover types   The lower part of the Volga delta with channels, creeks and alluvial islands including shallow lakes; shallow bays "kultuks", representing a transformation zone between the delta and the fore-delta; freshwater wetlands; riverine forests dominated by Salix alba and S. triandra; shrublands with Tamarix ramosissima and Rubus caesius including Carex acutiformis; grasslands dominated by Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia; permanently flooded areas such as shallow bays "kultuks" and fore-delta covered by emergent vegetation such as Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia, Sparganium erectum and Nelumbo nucifera, floating species such as Trapa natans, Nymphoides peltata, Nymphaea candida and Nuphar lutea, and submerged vegetation such as Potamogeton pectinatus, Ceratophyllum demersum and Butomus umbellatus
  Location   4528' to 4622'N; 4749' to 4907'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   97,816
  Core area(s)   66,816 (three units respectively 29,262; 9,508 and 28,046 ha)
  Buffer zone(s)   31,000
  Transition area(s) when given   not defined
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -26,5 to -24,5
  Year designated   1984
  Administrative authorities   Director of Astrakhanskiy Zapovednik, reporting to the Federal Ministry on Natural Resources
  Brief description   Inventory and monitoring of flora and fauna
Hydrology and climatology monitoring
Effects of large hydrological projects
Caspian Sea water level changes
Monitoring of birds
Protection and conservation of animal and plant species, including bird colonies, lotus etc.
Rehabilitation of a number of endangered species such as Grus
GIS database
Mapping of the different zones of the biosphere reserve
Indicators of sustainability relevant to economic activities:
Study of the dynamic and structure of natural complexes, which allows for an estimation of the state of the natural resources in the biosphere reserve
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Birds, conservation, fauna, flora, methodologies, natural resources, plants, rare/endangered/threatened species, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment.
  Socio-economic   Energy production systems/Alternative energy, indicators of sustainability.
  Integrated monitoring   Geographic Information System/GIS, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, mapping, planning and zoning measures/zonation.
  Contact address   Nina A. Litvinova
119, Tsarev River, Naberezhnaya
414021 Astrakhan
Russian Federation
  Telephone   (7.851-2) 30 17 64
  Fax   (7.851-2) 30 17 64

Last updated: 01/03/2007

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