Reserved places of the republic
The Caucasian State Biosphere Natural Reserve is a unique area of wild nature of Western Caucasus. It was founded with a Decree of a Council of the People's Commissars of RSFSR on May, 12, 1924.
Its territory with the area of 281,6 thousand ha covers northern and southern slopes of western part of the Large Caucasus. It characterizes by marks 260-3.360 m above a sea level. The Reserve is located on the territories of Krasnodarskiy Region, Republic of Adygeya, Karachoevo-Cherkesskaya Republic of the Russian Federation.
In the reserve the various mountain landscapes are submitted. The slopes of mountains at heights 600-2200 m are covered with virgin woods (62% of its territory), in their structure the various kinds of oaks prevail relic breeds. The oak forests, the alder - tree forests and the subtropical colchian forests of foothills higher in the mountains change into the beech forests with some parts of the chestnut forests. The top zones of vegetation are formed by the dark - needles fir forests and the fir - groves, the light pine forests, the park's maple forests, the crooked forests, the subalpine and alpine meadows.
Rivers: Pshekha, Kurdzhips, Belaya, Maly Laba, Mzymta, Shahe begin in mountains. There are 133 mountain lakes at the heights from 1450 up to 2.980 m. They are various on the origin. Rocky ranges of highlands are covered with glaciers. 90% of them located on northern slope. They are the western glaciers of the Large Caucasus, and one of them is the lowest in Europe. It is Vorobjev's glacier, it begins from height 1710 m. in the zone of maple and hornbeam woods. In reserve there are 63 glaciers with general area of ice of 18.7 sq. km.
Affinity of the warm Black Sea and Main Caucasian range have caused formation in the territory of reserve of various microclimates - from damp subtropical up to severe high- mountainous. The Caucasian Reserve's flora has about 3000 species, more than half of them are the vascular plants. The dendroflora consists of 165 species.
The forest's flora includes 900 species. The relict species constitute 22% and the endemic species constitute 24% of the whole number of species. Mountain meadow's flora has 819 species, 287 of which are endemic.
The fauna includes 74 kinds of mammals: mountain bizon, Kuban aurochses, the Caucasian noble deers, chamoises, brown bears, lynx, wild-boars, roes, Kuban wolf, fox, Caucasian otter, Caucasian wood cat, and others. In ornitofauna 241 kinds are submitted: the Caucasian blackcock, golden eagle, white-tail eagle, brown griffon. The Reserve's fauna has 10 kinds of amphibia (more than 66% endemic), 19 kinds of reptiles (endemic more than 30%) registered. In ichthyo fauna there are 18 kinds.
In reserve there are about 100 kinds of mushrooms, 4-5 thousand of insects live. In the Red Book of Russia and regional Red Book there are more than 300 kinds, including: mushrooms - 20, plants - more than 120, insects - 113, animals - 60. In the international Red Book - 3 kinds of inhabitants of reserve are brought.