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ABOUT RUSSIA / GEOGRAPHY AND NATURE / PEARLS OF RUSSIA / ALTAI RESERVE


Pearls of nature

Altai Reserve

Federal Altay State Natural Reserve - unique ecosystem with rich flora and fauna. Many kinds of flora and fauna are brought into the Red book.

The Altai Reserve was established in 1932. It is situated in South-Eastern part of Gorny Altai in the upper reaches and right bank of the Tchulyshman River and the Teletskoye Lake on Ulagansky and Turochaksky Regions territory. The Reserve covers an area of 863861 hectares. It has a stretched form and is 250 km long in meridional direction having an average width of about 35 km.

The Reserve was founded to protect the nature of taiga and highland tundra. The absolute altitudes of the Reserve, which are situated on Tchulyshman Plateau are 2500-3000 m high.

In 1998 the site of Altay reserve was included in territory of the World heritage of UNESCO.

Main rocks are granites, granite and gneiss, mica shale.

The Reserve's location close to the center of Asia conditions the general temperate-continental climate. However, peculiarities of relief and conditions of air masses transfer, taking into consideration a large area of the Reserve, raise a great variety of climatic conditions.

Its northern part is distinguished by warm and moist summers, snowy and comparatively mild winters. An average annual temperature is 3.2 C; an average January temperature is -8.77 C; of July +16.0 . About 850-1100 mm of precipitation fall a year, about a half of them fall in summer. The territory near the Teletskoye Lake is characterized by a considerable thickness of snow cover - up to 80-120 cm. In the whole, the northern part of the Reserve bordering on Lake Teletskoye is one of the warmest and moistest places of Gorny Altai.

Climate of south-western part of the Reserve is sharply continental and very severe. In winters the frosts are up to -50 C, and in summer days the maximum temperature reaches +30 C. Average annual temperature is -5 C. The level of precipitation is 3-4 times lower, than that near the Teletskoye Lake, and the length of vegetation period is only a month and a half compared to five months in the northern part.

In the Altai Preserve there are 1190 lakes having an area of over 0.01 square km each. The main part of them is situated in the upper lands. The origin of lake hollows is connected with glaciers' activity. The depth of the lakes is considerable - up to 35-50 m.

The biggest lake among the highland lakes of the Reserve - "Julukul" - is situated in the hollow with the same name at the altitude of 2200 m. The area of Lake Julukul is 30 square km, the depth - 7-9 m, the length - 10 km. The largest river of the Reserve - the Tchulyshman - flows out of this lake and stretches for 210 km.

The main reservoir of the Reserve - the Teletskoye Lake, the largest and the most beautiful lake of Altai - is situated at the height of 434 m above sea-level.

The Reserve's landscapes are presented by four vertical zones - steppe, forest, sub-Alpine and Alpine ones.

In the whole the Reserve's flora contains 1270 plant species, 73 mammal species, about 300 bird species, 10 species of Amphibias and reptiles.

Among animals the most characteristic ones are - maral, elk, brown bear, musk-deer, sable, glutton, lynx, roe, squirrel, chipmunk, snow leopard. Among birds - wood-grouse, hazel-grouse, eagle-owl, willow grouse and ptarmigan, redstart and others.

There are 13 fish species in the Lake Teletskoye. Grayling is found in majority of the rivers.

The main direction of scientific researches conducted in the Reserve is studying of mountain taiga's flora and fauna, highland tundra, Alpine high-altitude zone.




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