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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Russian Federation


Photo: Alexander Zateev
  General Description   Katunsky Biosphere Reserve is located close to the borders with Kazakhstan and China and includes the elevated part of the Altai Mountains, southern and northern slopes of the Katun Ridge and northern slopes of the Listvyaga Ridge. It encompasses a mosaic of 14 ecosystems, from mountain tundra to forest-steppe vegetation. Twelve plant species are included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation (1988), including fawn lily (Erythronium sibiricum), peony (Paeonia hybrida) and spleenwort (Asplenium exiguum). The snow leopard (Uncia uncia) occasionally enters the biosphere reserve.
Katunsky Reserve is also inscribed in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list One of the most important objectives of the biosphere reserve is the conservation of historic and cultural values such as archaeological objects, small architecture constructions, ethnological objects, ancient burial sites, natural resources connected with the culture of indigenous population, as well as the cultural landscapes.
The inhabitants of this area are mostly ethnic Russians (80%), while 20% are ethnic Altaians. They make a living from traditional natural resource use, such as deer-farming, pasturing and sheep grazing, forestry, apiculture, hunting, fishing as well as tourism. The Katunsky Biosphere Reserve introduces sustainable development by promoting benefits for local communities through projects on traditional types of nature utilization and handicraft industries, development of tourism, scientific tourism and ecotourism, and involvement of representatives of the local communities in ecological educational programmes. Today, the Katunsky Reserve also works on the organization of a transboundary reserve (together with Kazakhstan).
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Rocks and glaciers of high mountains; rocky tundra with plant species occupying microdepressions and cracks such as Saxifraga sibirica, Rhodiola quadrifida, Draba flandnizensis etc.; high-mountain meadows with Aquilegia glandulosa, Trollius asiaticus and Hedysarum austrosibiricum in the lower parts, and with Sibbaldia procumbens, Gentiana grandiflora and Veronica densiflora in raised sites; shrubby tundra characterized by Betula rotundifolia, Salix glauca and S. krylovii; open forests composed of Siberian stone pine and Siberian stone pine-larch mixture; mixed forests with birch, spruce, cedar, fir and larch; coniferous forests composed mostly of Siberian spruce (Picea obovata), Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) and European white birch (Betula pendula).
  Location   4928' to 4956'N; 8537' to 8634'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   695,262
  Core area(s)   151,637
  Buffer zone(s)   57,515
  Transition area(s) when given   ~500,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +765 to +4,506
  Year designated   2000
  Administrative authorities   Direction of the Biosphere Reserve, reporting to Department of Nature Reserves Affairs
  Brief description   Landscape researches
Vascular plants
Ecological monitoring
Census of species diversity
Mammals and birds
Protection of endangered species
Protection and rehabilitation of Uncia uncia (snow leopard)
Lake research
Sustainable development of transition areas
Ethnic-cultural traditions of attitude to the nature
Optimization of traditional human activity (maral farming, bee-keeping, recreation etc.)
Mapping of the biosphere reserve and transition areas
Research on organization of the transboundary reserve
Research on organization of claster areas of reserve (Yungur)
Research on organization of territory (zone) of co-operation (Terekta, Uch-Enmek)
GIS database
Geophysical and geochemical research of glaciers
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, geophysics, glaciology.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, birds, conservation, ecology, freshwater/inland water, mammals, methodologies, plants, rare/endangered/threatened species, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, species inventorying/inventory, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, cultural aspects, people-nature relations/man/nature, recreation, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Geographic Information System/GIS, landscape inventorying/monitoring, mapping, planning and zoning measures/zonation, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   A. V. Zateev
Katunskiy Biosphere Reserve
1 Zapovednaya street, Box 24, Settlement Ust - Koksa
649490 Altai Republic
Russian Federation
  Telephone   (7.388.48) 229 46
  Fax   (7.388.48) 229 46

Last updated: 13/12/2007

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