Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain

The Volga-Akhtuba represents a mosaic structure of different landscapes, with high-yielding floodplain meadows, spawning grounds, oak groves and internationally important wetlands.

Declaration Date: 2011
Surface Area:
180479.43 ha
Core area(s):   41101.13 ha
Buffer zone(s):  67240.6 ha
Transition area(s):   72137.7 ha


Ecological Characteristics

© UNESCO/Volga-Akhtuba floodplain Natural park
Calosoma sycophanta (Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain), Russia

Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Biosphere Reserve  includes the upstream part of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain (north of the floodplain‘s Kammennoyarsk contraction) within the Volgograd Oblast and, partly, the first above-floodplain terrace of the Akhtuba river.

The south-eastern part of the area has lower absolute ground elevations compared with the north-western part, as a result of which it is more inundated than the latter.

The hydrographic network of the proposed Biosphere Reserve is an extremely complicated system whose character is largely determined by the area‘s geomorphological characteristics. It is represented by the following waterway types:  rivers (the Volga and Akhtuba rivers); distributaries and channels of different orders (191 streams); lakes (2,753 lakes, the area of 10,220 ha at the normal water level); marshland (2 marshes of the total area of 206.8 ha).

There are 97 rural communities within the proposed Biosphere Reserve limits located mostly in the Sredneakhtubinski and Leninski Districts. Approximate number of people living within the proposed Biosphere Reserve permanently:   13 061  in  Buffer  zone  and   29 374  in Transition Area,  also   seasonally  -  1000  in  Core  Area,  33 000 in  Buffer Zone,   and  71 500 in Transition Area. 

The area’s local population is multi-ethnic, with more than 20 different ethnic nationalities and groups. In the Leninski District area, in villages of Maliayevka and Bakhtiyarovka, a mighty Tatar diaspora exists. Since the old days in these villages the local population has practiced vegetable farming, mainly growing tomatoes.

The Core area are located within the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Nature Park area (covered by the regional protection regime), and include  also  the Ramsar wetland sites, as well as internationally important key ornithological areas.

Buffer zone includes the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Nature Park area and key internationally important ornithological areas.

The Transition area comprises mainly agroeconomic sites of the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Nature Park, includes territories of municipalities.

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                                                                                           Last updated : July 2011

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