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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Russian Federation


  General Description   This biosphere reserve is situated in the Bering Sea east of the Kamchatka Peninsula and covers mountain tundra, motley-grass meadows, wetlands, coastal and marine zones. The flora and fauna of Commander Islands are remarkable because of the unusual combination of species of Asian and American origin. Its coastal ecosystems are unique because of their diversity of marine mammals and birds. The Commander Islands were discovered by the expedition of the famous navigator Vitus Bering due to tragic circumstances since his ship broke on the reefs here.
The main objective of the biosphere reserve is the improvement of socio-economic conditions of the local people while keeping and developing traditional and ecologically sound forms of natural resource use, such as small-scale coastal trading, fishing, agriculture, crafts and recreation. Human impacts in the area derive from the introduction of northern reindeer and red vole, amateur hunting, the collection of berries and mushrooms, off road vehicles and tourism. Within the UNDP/GEF long-term project “Conservation and Sustainable-use of Coastal Biodiversity in Russia’s Commander (Komandorsky) Islands”, a management plan for the biosphere reserve will be created. The 800 inhabitants of the biosphere reserve (2001) will be involved in development of the plan and the management of the area.
  Major ecosystem type   Tundra communities and barren Arctic deserts including marine component
  Major habitats & land cover types   Mountain tundra covered by heathers with crowberry, characterized by Arctus alpina, Rhodonendron kamtschaticum, Rhododendron aurea, Loiseleuria procumbens etc.; Motley-grass meadows with Calamagrostis Landsdorffii, Anemone villosissima, Geranium erianthum etc.; wetlands (lakes, rivers, swamps) including sedges (Carex sp.), cotton grass (Eriophorum sp.), willows (Salix sp.), sphagnum (Sphagnum sp.) etc.; coastal ecosystems characterized by Senecio pseudoarnica, Leymus mollis, Ammodenia peploides, Mertensia simplicissima etc.; marine communities of littoral (intertidal) zone including Fucus evanescens, Laminaria bongardiana, Clathromorphum circumscriptum, C. loculosum etc.; Laminarian algae communities - kelp zone with Alaria fistulosa, Laminaria dentigera, Laminaria longipes, Cymathere triplicata etc.; marine communities of encrusting red algae zone with Clathromorphum nereostratum (red algae), Agarum clathratum, Thalassiophyllum clathrus etc.; marine communities of low sub-littoral zone (low shelf zone); deep communities (bathyal, abyssal)
  Location   Archipelago: 55°5' to 54°1'N; 165°5' to 168°6'E
Water area: 55°5' to 54°1'N; 164°2' to 168°8'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   3,648,679
  Core area(s)   1,290,671 (of which marine: 1,250,000)
  Buffer zone(s)   2,177,408 (of which marine: 2,112,900)
  Transition area(s) when given   180,600 (of which marine: 100,400)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -7,030 to +755
  Year designated   2002
  Administrative authorities   Directorate of the State Nature Reserve "Komandorskiy" -Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve, reporting to the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation

Last updated: 13/12/2007

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