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Mountainous Urals Biosphere Reserve, Russian Federation


Located in the Southern Urals, this biosphere reserve is covered with mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forests as well as mixed coniferous small-leaved forests and mountain taiga spruce-fir forests. Mountain ranges (with summits of 800 m to 1,178 m) and mountain valleys are interconnected by boulder streams. The western part of the reserve is low altitude. While the eastern part alternates between sloping mountain ridge elevations and depressions covered with lakes and deeply incised swampy valleys. About 12,000 people inhabit the site, whose main objective is to transition from extractive industries to a sustainable development model based on biological natural resource management, tourism and the rehabilitation of landscapes scarred by mining. 


Designation date: 2018

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Regional network: EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network:



    173,578 ha

    • Core area(s) : 17,459 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 60,955 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 95,164 ha

    Location: 55°22'35"N - 60°14'38"E

    Administrative authorities

    The Ministry of Ecology Chelyabinsk region
    St. Kirova 114; Chelyabinsk 454009

    Tel: +7 (351) 2646680

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The biosphere reserve territory is characterized both by unique and typical ecosystem of the Southern Urals. The biomes typical for the Southern Urals occupy the largest areas: coniferous broad-leaved, mountainous boreal spruce-fir and secondary mixed coniferous smallleaved forests, light coniferous pine woods. The smaller area is occupied by the ecosystems associated with certain elements of the Southern Urals and reflecting landscape and geomorphological variation characteristic of the BR.

    The BR vertebrate fauna is represented by 56 species of mammals, 188 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians and 22 species and breeds of fish. There are 188 species of birds in the BR territory which include 159 species nesting within the BR while 18 species are the birds of passage and 10 species are winter ones. A vast fauna of invertebrate animals amounts to more than 7.5 thousand species according to the expert evaluation of specialists.

    A large number of animals living in the territory of the biosphere reserve represent huntable species (mallard (Anas platyrhynchos L.), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.), hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia L.), Eurasian woodcock (Sclopax rusticola L.), mountain hare (Lepus timidus L.), Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber L.), muskrat (Ondatra zibethica L.), European pine marten (Martes martes L.), mink (Mustela vison Schreb.), red fox (Vulpes vulpes L.), wild boar (Sus scrofa L.), moose (Alces alces L.), brown bear (Ursus arctos L.)) and fishing obects (common bream (Abramis brama L.), chub (Leuciscus cephalus L.), asp (Aspius aspius L.), white bream (Blicca bjoerkna L.), crucian carp (Carassius carassius L.), common nase (Chondrostoma nasus L.), gudgeon (Gobio gobio L.), ide (Leuciscus idus L.), common dace (Leuciscus leuciscus L.), common minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus L.), adult roach (Rutilus rutilus L.), northern pike (Esox lucius L.), burbot (Lota lota L.), ruffe (Acerina cernua L.), Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.), zander (Sander lucioperca L.), wels (Silurus glanis L.). 


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The BR is surrounded by industrial cities: Zlatoust, Miass, Karabash, Kusa. Rural settlements are mainly located along the BR borders. An important peculiarity of the BR territorial and spatial location is the availability of intact natural complexes and ecosystems in its central part. Their preservation is ensured by special security arrangements existing within the Nature Protected Areas (NPAs). The BR being an eco-frame of the territory is actually a supplier of ecosystem services for the mining district and the region in general (preservation of genetic and biochemical resources of natural species and populations, cleaning the air with vegetation, provision of the water flow volume, ensuring water high quality, carbon reserves storage, forest wood and non-wood products, hunting and fishing resources, recreation and education tourism, ethical and spiritual meaning of natural systems).

    In the past the majority of working-age population was employed in the industrial area, minerals extraction and forest management. Since 2000 the metallurgical cities generally have lagged behind the normal development rates, however, the key social and economical potential is preserved and the share of industrial employment still remains the highest. Despite this fact, the strategic development plan of each municipal unit puts emphasis on the economic diversification; tourism thus may become one of the economic drivers.

    The BR territory has a touristic and recreation potential. There exist both traditionally popular sites (NP "Taganay", Lake Turgoyak) and other sites having a high prospective recreation value and being non-demanded now (mount Karandash - ancient rocks of Earth of the age of 2.5 – 4.5 billion years, the quarry Radostny - a unique Archean geological section, Lake Serebry, Lake Ufimskoye, etc.).


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    Last updated: April 2019