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Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Biosphere Reserve, Russian Federation

The proposed Biosphere Reserve “The Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain”,  based  on  existent Nature  Park “The Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain”  area, is one of the most significant and unique natural territorial complexes in the south of Russia that plays an outstanding role as an environmentally integrating and stabilizing component, including  local climate regulating. It is practically the only site within the Volga valley that has preserved a natural hydraulic streamflow regime throughout the entire length of the Volga river from the source at Tver to the estuary.

Designation date: 2011


Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 180,479.43 ha

    • Core area(s): 41,101.13 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 67,240.6 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 72,137.7 ha

    Location: 48°35'25"N; 45°02'04"E

    Administrative Authorities

    State Institution «Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain» Nature Park»
    Street or P.O. Box: Naberezhnaya st., 2
    404143, Srednyaya Akhtuba
    Volgograd region
    Russian Federation

    Tel.: +7 8447953441

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Wetlands are the landscapes of a special value in the Biosphere Reserve area, being the sites characterized by typical plant communities and wildlife. They include extensive floodplain meadows, spawning grounds, serve as resting sites for migratory birds and habitats for nesting populations. They include a wide spectrum of water bodies, permanent and seasonal shallows, as well as waterlogged areas with free watertable continuously or periodically covering the land surface. In all of these sites water is the main factor that determines plant and animal living conditions and controls the environmental status.

    In comparison with surrounding arid landscapes, the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain area is distinguished by a mosaic contrasting structure of its versatile landscapes, abundance and diversity of water bodies (ca. 3,000 water bodies against semidesert landscapes of the North Caspian), existence of high-yield floodplain meadows, valuable spawning grounds, unique park-like oak groves with the English oak genotype, highly fertile soils formed by spring flood deposits washed from the extensive Volga basin (the productivity of floodplain agricultural lands is almost 20 times that of the surrounding landscapes), abundance of the waterfowl.



    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Two large urban communities located nearby - Volgograd and Volzhski, high population density in the north-western part of the area, attractiveness of the floodplain intrazonal wetlands as tourist sights – all of the above makes the proposed area completely fit for the establishment of a pilot site to test implementation of socio-cultural and environmentally sustainable projects that would contribute to economic and social development in the area. In addition, Volgograd is a provincial capital, which means that individual stakeholders (managers, scientists) can easily take part in such projects or follow the work results.

    One of the main economic components in the proposed reserve is agriculture that delivers high-quality produce (in 2007 in the framework of a nation-wide contest "The Environmentally Clean District" the International Environment Foundation and the Moscow-based National News Agency "Natural Resources" awarded the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Nature Park with a medal for an outstanding contribution to the region's environmental security). It should be noted that an active agrarian sector is one of the necessary prerequisites for conservation of cultural landscape values; however oftentimes the latter's development is destructive for natural landscapes. The proposed BR will develop recommendations on prudent agricultural practices, provide incentives to environmentally sustainable approaches to natural resource management, as well as implement activities aimed at rehabilitation of degraded landscapes. In particular, there is a plan to conduct, with participation of the Nature Park, activities aimed at rehabilitation of degraded landscapes around lakes Sotovo, Davydkino, the Chaika lake system and other lakes. 


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    Last updated: April 2019