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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Russian Federation


  General Description   Valdaiskiy Biosphere Reserve is located in the Valdai Highlands, the main watershed of the Russian plain (including the source of the River Volga), in the northwest of the country. The core area and buffer zones are made up of the Valdaiskiy National Park. The relief is hilly and includes hill-moraine glacier relief with different forms of glacial morphology such as moraine banks and ridges, and lifting cones.

The area includes characteristic ecosystems of the southern sub-zone of the Eastern European taiga. For centuries the area has been exposed to human activities of variable intensity. The native forests, typical and unique bogs and lake-river ecosystems, are mixed with former agricultural landscapes, and in particular with areas of regenerating clear-cut forest. The Biosphere Reserve has to ensure protection of flora and fauna of forest and wetland ecosystems, as well as different forms of traditional land. The flora encompasses more than 750 species of vascular plants and 126 moss species including rare and endangered species. There are about 50 mammals and more than 180 bird species. The population of the Biosphere Reserve counts 36,000 people of which 95% are Ethnic Russians. The major part (about 60%) lives in Valdai town, while the other part lives in rural areas. The main economic activities are industry and services, and agriculture (farming and animal husbandry). Collection and processing of forest products is a highly developed business. One of the main objectives of the Biosphere Reserve is to provide new employment opportunities and improve the socio-economic conditions for local people in the region while encouraging environmentally friendly natural resource use such as collection and processing of forest products, fishing, hunting, and development of traditional crafts. The most promising activity is the development of ecotourism, which is a key priority of the local community development strategy.

The Biosphere Reserve shows unique evidence of cultural traditions. Traditional folk crafts were developed and are preserved here such as birch bark and woodcarving, weaving using willow root, clay doll farbrication and cast iron production. Recently 500 archeological monuments (burial hills, mounds, settlements, sites from the Stone and Iron Ages) have been identified. The area holds 230 monuments of historical and cultural value, including the Iversky monastery from the 17th century located on the Valdai Lake Island. There is a 'Scheme of institutional organization and development' of the Valdaiskiy National Park, which is a key document for the long-term development (25 years). The elaboration of a 5-years Management Plan with mechanisms for community participation started in 2003.
  Major ecosystem type   Boreal needleleaf forests or woodlands (taiga)
  Major habitats & land cover types   Pine forests characterized by Pinus sylvestris, Diphasiastrum complanatum, Pteridium aquilinum etc.; Spruce forests with Picea abies, Populus tremula, Betula pubescens, B. pendula etc.; Small-leaved forests characterized by B. pubescens, B. pendula, Alnus incana, Equisetum pratense etc.; Broadleaf forests with Quercus robur, Acer platanoides, Fraxinus excelsior etc.; Lake and river systems including species such as Thelypteris palustris, Alisma plantago-aquatica, Sagittaria sagittifolia and Acorus calamus; Swamp system with B. nana, Stellaria palustris, Carex acutiformis, C. appropinquata, C. canescens, C. diandra etc.
  Location   5725' to 5825'N; 3240' to 3330'E
5800'N; 3616'E (Central point)
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   158,932
  Core area(s)   23,418
  Buffer zone(s)   70,514
  Transition area(s) when given   65,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +66 to +298
  Year designated   2004
  Administrative authorities   Valdaiskiy Biosphere Reserve administration, reporting to the Department of strictly protected nature territories and biodiversity conservation of the Ministry of Natural Resources
  Brief description   The zonation was defined using the following criteria:
- Existence of zones with strict protection in the Valdaiskiy National park;
- Presence of valuable ecosystems that require special protection measures;
- Possibilities to introduce mechanisms for a sustainable use of natural resources and protection of the traditional economical lifestyle of local people.
The core area and buffer zones are located in the Valdaiskiy National Park.

Hydro-chemical monitoring of the main water sources and surrounding terrain; Forest-pathological observations; Bio-indicators; Monitoring of archaeological monuments.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Forest systems, freshwater/inland water, indicators, monitoring/methodologies, pests/diseases.
  Socio-economic   Archaeology/Paleontology, monitoring methodologies.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address    
Biosphere reserve National park Valdaisky
2, Pobedy street
175400 Valdai, Novgorod Region
Russian Federation
  Telephone   (7.384-53) 21809
  Fax   (7.384-53) 21809

Last updated: 01/03/2007

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