Azas Nature Reserve, Russia

Azas Nature Reserve

Azas Nature Reserve is a state natural reserve located in the Todzha kozhuun of the Tuva Republic. It was created on January 11, 1985 on the basis of the Azas republican reserve. It is a member of the association of nature reserves and national parks of the Altai-Sayan ecoregion.


Physical and geographical characteristics

The territory of the reserve (300 390 hectares within the boundaries of 1991) is located in the central part of the Todzha depression in the north-east of Tuva and stretches in a latitudinal direction along the river. Azas. The geographical coordinates of its extreme points: north - 52 ° 42 ', south - 52 ° 16', east - 98 ° 42 ', west - 96 ° 30'. The eastern border runs along the administrative border with the Republic of Buryatia. A two-kilometer protective zone with a total area of ​​90 thousand km² has been created around the reserve.

The Todzha basin is a huge intermontane depression within the Altai-Sayan mountainous country. This is a unique drainage basin that feeds the headwaters of the largest river in Siberia - the Yenisei. Its colossal hydro resources are enclosed in a dense river network and numerous lakes.



The climate of the Todzha depression is sharply continental and moderately humid. The low mountainous framing of the basin in the west and northwest, in places dropping to 1300 m (Amyl pass), does not impede the northwest winds carrying humid Atlantic air. Additional moisture is created by local precipitation due to abundant evaporation from lakes and swamps. The influence of high-altitude zones on the climate is great.

According to the long-term average data of the Toora-Khem meteorological station, which characterizes the low mountains of the reserve, the minimum temperature in January reaches -54 ° C. The average daily temperature in January is -28.7 C °, in July - +14.6 C °. The annual temperature is -5.5 C °. Summer is cool, summer frosts are not uncommon. The frost-free period lasts 52 days. The sum of the average daily temperatures above 10 C ° is 10.94 C °, the average annual precipitation is 343 mm, 60% of which falls in summer. The middle and high mountains are characterized by a softer continentality and an increase in precipitation up to 600-800 mm.

Phenological winter in low mountains, begins at the end of October, at the beginning of November a permanent snow cover is established. The height of the snow in January-February reaches 25-30 cm, in the middle mountains - up to 80 cm and more. The stable snow cover lasts 162 days on average and collapses at the end of March. Snow melting ends by mid-April, in the middle mountains - by the end of May, in the highlands it stretches until mid-July.

Vegetation in low-mountain landscapes begins on average on April 24. In mid-May, during the green spring stage, trees and shrubs are leafing. The final stage of spring - pre-summer is marked by the blooming of bird cherry in the end of May along the river valleys, most of the berries bloom. Summer is short - no more than two months. Its sign is the blooming of wild rose in the second half of June, and already in mid-August the forest is replete with yellow strands of birches, marking the beginning of a golden autumn. By the end of the first decade of September, deciduous trees and shrubs are fully blooming. The growing season ends on September 10. From mid-September, daily temperatures become less than +5 C °, regular frosts occur, larch quickly turns yellow, forming a deep-autumn landscape. In the first half of October, with the end of the larch needles falling off, pre-winter sets in, the landscape becomes gray and almost silent.

In the highlands, spring and summer are very compressed; the background of summer minimum temperatures does not exceed 3 ° C. Frosts are likely at any time. Vegetation begins in mid-June, and already in the first decade of August, the round-leaved birch (yernik) turns yellow and the mountain meadows wither, indicating the beginning of autumn.



In terms of hypsometric position, climate and vegetation, the Todzha depression is of a mid-mountainous character. The bottom of the basin rises from west to east from 850 to 2000 meters above sea level. The basin is framed by highlands with heights of 2300-2900 m, belonging to three mountain systems. In the south, the mountain ranges of the Academician Obruchev ridge rise, in the west and north-west - the Western Sayan, in the north-east and east - the Eastern Sayan. One of the highest points of the Eastern Sayan - Topografov peak (3044 m) is located near the eastern border of the reserve, passing along the watershed of the Big Sayan ridge. The highest mountain peak of the reserve is confined to the watershed - 2912 m.

The reserve is completely located in the area of ​​the former cover glaciation, which created picturesque relief forms. All mountain rises in its territory belong to the system of the Biy-Khem plateau. The high-mountain ridge Ulug-Arga (2200-2400 m), borders the left bank of the Azas River in the upper reaches. To the east of it stretches the Sai-Taiga volcanic plateau, gradually turning into the Bolshoi Sayan ridge. The plateau feeds numerous sources of the Azas, Sorug and Biy-Khem rivers. Table mountains-volcanoes rise above the plateau: Shivit-Taiga - 2769 m, Kok-Khemsky - 2701 m, Sorug-Chushku-Uzyu massif - 2517 m. Their slopes are processed by a glacier. Penalties, trogs, mountain ridges are pronounced. Lakes are common in carats. The volcanic plateau and the Ulug-Arga ridge are characterized by an alpine alpine relief type with the participation of alpine forms. The slopes facing the river valleys have a sharp glacial erosional dissection.


To the west, the Ulug-Arga ridge goes down and passes into the low (1600-1900 m) Kadyr-Egi-taiga ridge, which is the watershed of the Azas and Bash-Khem rivers. The relief is medium-mountainous erosional.

A special place is occupied by the interfluve of the Azas, Khamsara and Sorug rivers. In the upper and middle reaches of the Azas River, it is a mid-mountain ridge-hilly plain with heights of 1300-1800 m. Examination glacial landforms prevail: ridges and hills extended along the movement of the glacier, trough valleys, exaration scarps. Moraine deposits are developed in the depressions. In the lower reaches of the river. On the Azas interfluve, glacier-accumulative formations are widespread: outwash terraces, end-moraine ridges, ozes, kams, etc. The relief is low-mountain hilly-moraine with heights of 950-1300 m. There are numerous lakes and raised bogs. The largest lakes of the reserve are located here.


Rivers and lakes

The entire hydrological network of the Todzha depression belongs to the basin of the Bolshoi Yenisei (Biy-Khem) River. Two large rivers flow through the reserve: in the central part - Azas, and along the northeastern border - Sorug, which is the left tributary of the river. Hamsara. In the southern part of the reserve, mountain rivers and streams flow into the river. Bash-khem, enveloping its security zone. On the spurs of the ridge. Big Sayan in the reserve begins the main source of Biy-Khem - r. Kok-Khem. The main waterway is r. Azas originates on the Sai-Taiga mountain plateau and flows into the flowing lake Azas. The length of the river from the confluence of the sources to the mouth is 155 km, the height difference is 800 m. In the upper reaches of the river below the mouth of the river. Khaaktyg-Khem is the picturesque Azass waterfall and rocky canyon.

There are 30 large and medium and over 100 small lakes on the territory of the reserve. They are predominantly of glacial origin and occupy ancient flow valleys stretching from west to east along the movement of the glacier. The largest lakes are Many-Khol (3070 ha) and Kadysh (2580 ha). One of the largest and most famous lakes of the Todzha depression - Azas or Todzha (5470 hectares) is part of the reserve.

In the upper reaches of the river. Biche-Sorug has a group of cold mineral springs of carbon dioxide character. Before the formation of the reserve, the springs were used for medicinal purposes. They are readily visited by ungulates.



The soil cover of the reserve is poorly studied. The mountainous tundra soddy-humus and peaty-humus soils prevail in the alpine zone. Primitive and mountain meadow soils are widespread.

In the upper part of the forest belt, the most common varieties of mountain taiga humus sour and peaty-podzolic soils, developing under the blueberry-green moss cedar taiga and subalpine woodlands.

In the middle lane, mountain-taiga soddy-weakly podzolic and peaty-humus soils are formed under the lingonberry-green moss cedar and larch taiga.

In the lower part of the belt, where grasses and rich forbs appear in the grass cover, varieties of mountain soddy soils are more characteristic. Under the birch-larch forests there are also gray forest and meadow-chernozem soils. In the entire altitudinal interval of the forest belt, in depressions, the lower parts of the northern slopes, lake and river terraces, and stream valleys, taiga-permafrost peaty-humus gley and peat bog soils are very common. In the conditions of meadow-steppe vegetation, varieties of mountain chernozems and meadow-chernozem soils are common.



There are two main vertical belts on the territory of the reserve: forest and alpine. In the low mountains, the steppe belt is fragmentarily expressed. Forest areas occupy 73%, mountain tundra and loach placers - 16%. The rest of the areas are swamps, meadows, steppes, and reservoirs.

The reserve presents the most humid type of vertical zonation of the vegetation cover of the mountain systems of Tuva - the East Sayan or Todzha, which characterizes the Todzha cedar-larch district of the East Sayan mountain taiga province. In the forest belt, there is a clear change with height from subtaiga herbaceous larch and birch forests (900-1100 m above sea level) to mountain-taiga larch, cedar, mainly moss forests (1000-1700 m) and then subalpine cedar, cedar-larch forests and woodlands (1700-1900 m). Mountain taiga forests absolutely prevail in area. The alpine belt (1900-2600 m) is mountain-tundra in terms of the nature of the landscape, with the inclusion of subalpine and alpine vegetation. The peculiarities of the vegetation cover, caused by glacial landforms, include the wide distribution of shrubby vegetation on fluvioglacial river terraces, pine forests on moraine deposits, in combination with permafrost processes - swamps and swampy woodlands. A characteristic element for all altitudinal belts is rocks and stony placers with pioneer groups of plants, which are especially widely represented in the highlands.


The flora of the higher vascular includes 925 species belonging to 355 genera and 93 families. The leading place belongs to the families Zlakovye - 96, Astrovye - 92, Sedge - 77 species. The reserve is home to 7 species of plants from the Red Data Book of the RSFSR (1988): feather grass, hazel grouse Dagan, wrestler Pascoe, lady's slipper, large-flowered lady's slipper, leafless caper, neottiante nodule. The flora includes about 40 regionally rare species, some of which are included in the Red Data Book of the Tyva Republic: plants (1999): quadrangular water lily, pure white water lily, small egg capsule, etc. In total, 13 species are objects of the Red Data Books of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan.

The list of bryophytes of 217 species includes 70 species of hepatic and 147 leafy mosses. Among leafy mosses, species new to science have been described: Didimodon hedysariformis T. Otn., Orthotrichum furcatum T. Otn. 11 species of leafy mosses are rare for Siberia.

The reserve has 133 species of lichens, including 8 rare for Siberia. The group of epilithic lichens has not been studied. The inventory is ongoing.


Animal world

The study of invertebrate fauna is in its early stages. The ichthyofauna includes 15 species, among which the most rare is taimen (Hucho taimen), listed in the Red Book of the Tyva Republic (2002). There are 2 species of amphibians - the Siberian salamander (Hynobius keyserlingi) and the sharp-faced frog (Rana arvalis). Reptiles are represented by 3 species: the viviparous lizard (Lacerta vivipara), the Pallas mouton (Agkistrodon halys) and the common viper (Vipera berus) - a species of the Red Book of the Republic of Tatarstan.

The general list of avifauna on the territory of the reserve includes 230 species, of which 138 are nesting ones (Current state ... 2003), and taking into account the buffer zone, 254 species. The most richly represented are the orders of passerine, charadriiformes, falconiformes and anseriformes. 20 rare bird species are listed in the Red Book of the Tyva Republic (2002), of which 10 are included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation (2001). The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), a species of the IUCN Red List, an osprey (Pandion haliaetus), an eagle owl (Bubo bubo), a taiga bean goose (Anser fabalis middendorffii) and a mountain snipe (Gallinago solitaria), find optimal conditions for nesting in the reserve.

The reserve is home to 51 species of mammals: insectivores - 10, bats - 2, lagomorphs - 2, rodents - 17, carnivores - 13, artiodactyls - 7 species. The list contains 3 species of the Red Data Books of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan: Tuvan beaver (Castor fiber tuvinicus), snow leopard (Uncia uncia) and forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus), another species is included in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Tatarstan: otter (Lutra lutra). Tuvinian beaver is endemic to Tuva, the main population is located on the Azas River under the protection of the reserve. During the existence of the reserve and then the Azas reserve, its number increased more than 3 times and stabilized by the 1990s at the level of 70-80 individuals in 19-22 settlements.

In 2003-2004, 17 beavers were resettled from the r. Azas on the r. Belin (Kaa-Khem region). After resettlement, the number of beavers on the river. Azas is 45-46 beavers in 13 settlements with the prospect of restoration to the previous one.