Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve, Russia

Description of Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve

The Pechora-Ilichsky State Biosphere Reserve is a reserve in the Northern Urals, one of the most famous in the Russian Federation. The reserve was created in 1930 in the Komi ASSR, in the western foothills of the Urals, to preserve the natural complex of the northeast of the European part of the USSR, mainly sable habitat conditions. Located in the Komi Republic on the western slope of the Ural Mountains. From the east, the reserve is bounded by the Belt Stone Range, from the south, north and west by the Pechora and Ilych Rivers. In the north, the reserve is bordered by the national park "Yugyd Va".

On the territory of the Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve there are the Manpupunyor ridge and remnants of the Manpupunyor mountain, as well as virgin forests, which are the objects of the world natural heritage.


History of the reserve

The organization of a number of large national reserves was aimed at protecting valuable fur-bearing animals, primarily sable, the main source of valuable and exported furs. The sharp depletion of its stocks at the beginning of the 20th century forced a three-year ban on fishing, established in 1913, but the ban was not respected. I had to find effective measures to save the sable, related to the protection of specific territories. Among the first were proposals for the organization of special sable reserves in the western foothills of the Northern Urals - the only place in Europe where sable is still preserved. The arrangement of reserves was planned in the Cherdyn district (Belousov, 1915) and in the upper reaches of the Pechora (Nat, 1922). The latter included a small area of dark coniferous forests between the Ilych and Pechora rivers, which is now in the center of the main territory of the reserve. The initiator of the reserve, S. G. Nat, being a forester and then a forest inspector of the Vologda province, repeatedly visited this region in the period from 1906 to 1913 in order to survey its forests, waters and hunting, the results of which were published in two of his works (1915 ; 1922).

The implementation of the proposal began only in 1928, when the zoologist A.F. Chirkova presented to the Council of the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature the materials of Nata and a brief draft of a scientific expedition to the Pechora in order to verify them and collect additional information necessary for the organization of the reserve. The expedition was approved by the State Committee for Nature Protection, and Franz Frantsevich Schillinger, a well-known figure in the national nature reserve, was appointed its leader.

During the summer of 1929, the expedition explored the area of the future reserve, covering about 1,500 kilometers by boat and on foot. After its completion, Schillinger (1929) made the following conclusion: “The preservation of sable in the European part of the Union, that is, in the Komi region, according to the expedition, based on a detailed study of this issue on the spot, is possible only in the case of the earliest establishment of a large national park in the most suitable place for this purpose. Otherwise, it can be predicted with certainty that the sable will be completely exterminated in the same way as the beaver was exterminated. He proposed a project for organizing such a park-reserve on the territory between the Upper Pechora and Ilych rivers, bounded from the east by the Ural Range, and from the north by the Ilych tributary of the Kozhimyu. The project was supported by many prominent Russian scientists, among whom were S. A. Buturlin, M. A. Menzbir, V. A. Varsanofyeva, A. A. Chernov, G. A. Kozhevnikov and others. May 4, 1930, in which the People's Commissariat of Education was instructed, in the course of implementing the five-year plan, to organize and formalize six new reserves, including the Pechora Reserve (Protection of Nature, No. 4, 1930). In subsequent official documents and publications until 1951, it is referred to as Pechora-Ylychsky, later the modern name was adopted - Pechoro-Ilychsky.

July 30, 1931 Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR No. 826 "On the boundaries of reserves of national importance" approved the boundaries of the reserve, proposed by the Schillinger expedition. The original territory of the reserve, within the natural boundaries of the Pechoro-Ilych interfluve, had an area of 1134.6 thousand hectares. and remained in this form during the first two decades of the existence of the reserve. On May 14, 1932, the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR No. 510 "On the inclusion of the Pechora-Ylychsky Reserve in the list of research institutions of the RSFSR" was adopted. On February 10, 1935, by the Decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR, the Pechora-Ylychsky Reserve was approved as complete, of national importance.

In 1933, the first organizational plan for the future reserve was drawn up, including the staffing table, cost estimates for construction, and the purchase of equipment and materials. The functioning of the reserve began in 1934, when the state was partially filled and the protection of the territory and the first scientific research were carried out by the forces of the reserve itself and the Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences. It was only by 1937 that it was possible to staff the forestry and scientific departments with employees of the necessary specialties.

The management of the reserve was originally located in the village of Ust-Ilych, and in 1935 it was transferred to the village. Yaksha, where it is at the present time.

In 1950, when the first reorganization of the domestic reserve system began, Pechoro-Ilychsky, like most others, was included in the list of reserves to be liquidated. It was saved only thanks to the efforts and perseverance of scientists, in particular, Professor V. A. Varsanofyeva. However, the protected area was reduced by more than ten times - to 93 thousand hectares (Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 3192 of August 29, 1951). The entire mountainous landscape area and almost the entire flat part were excluded from the former protected area. The reserve began to exist in the form of two sections. One of them, 6 thousand hectares in size, was located in the vicinity of the village. Yaksha, the second stretched along the upper reaches of the Pechora with access to Ilych along the valleys of the Bolshoy Shezhim and Shezhimyu rivers. In 1959, at the initiative of the scientific community and the petition of the regional authorities, the territory of the reserve was again increased (Decree of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR dated January 14, 1959 No. 164-R). Until now, the reserve has been within the boundaries defined by the specified document.

On February 15, 1985, at a meeting of the Bureau of the ISS MAB, a decision was made to give the Pechoro-Ilych Reserve the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve. On December 15, 1995, at a meeting of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee, a decision was made to include in the UNESCO World Heritage List the territory “Virgin Komi Forests”, including the areas of the Pechoro-Ilychsky Reserve and the Yugyd-VA National Park, as well as their buffer and protected zones.


Flora and fauna

The nature of the territory of the reserve changes greatly as you move from west to east. The Pechora lowland, occupied mainly by pine forests and swamps, is gradually replaced by dark coniferous forests of ridged foothills, and then by continuous mountain dark coniferous forests (they reach a height of 600 meters above sea level), crooked forests, meadows and mountain tundra. This landscape series is closed by the bald mountains of the Northern Urals.

The variety of forest types, their alternation is very large, depending on the types of soil, topography, geographical location. In pine forests in the upper tier there is Siberian larch; sometimes islands of cedar are interspersed in them, which is becoming more and more closer to the Ural ridge. There are many deciduous species, including birch forests, which are powerfully developed in places. Cranberries, blueberries, cloudberries are common in sphagnum bogs, and black and red currants, raspberries, and wild roses are common on the coasts. The floodplain meadows are dominated by tall communities of reed grass, foxtail, meadowsweet and other moisture-loving plants. The summary of the flora of vascular plants includes 659 species from 228 genera and 87 families.

The animal world is typical for the northern taiga and is represented by 49 species of mammals, 230 species of birds, one species of reptiles (viviparous lizard), four species of amphibians (Siberian salamander, common frog), 17 species of fish, one species of cyclostomes (Siberian lamprey) . Among the background ones are squirrel, white hare, beaver, brown bear, pine marten, wolverine, otter, ermine, weasel, elk, which undertakes large seasonal migrations here. The forests of the reserve are abundantly populated by grouse birds - hazel grouse, black grouse, capercaillie. Of the waterfowl, a small number of species nest - the bean goose, the large merganser, the wigeon, and the crackling teal. In winter, you can meet the permanent inhabitants of the reserve - the crossbill, kuksha, tits, woodpeckers. Of the most valuable species of fish, salmon should be noted, which enters the protected reservoirs for spawning, taimen (along the Ilych River), and grayling.



The Pechoro-Ilychsky Reserve is famous for the world's first moose farm, created for the domestication of moose. This idea was put forward in the 1930s by Professor P. A. Manteuffel.

The idea of domesticating an elk is not new. Numerous cave paintings of elks were found in various regions of Siberia, which people graze, lead in halters and on a rein, put on a leash, use in sleigh teams and for riding, keep in pens, etc. It can be assumed that elk breeding was practiced by the ancients inhabitants of Siberia since the Stone Age. The Ostyaks, at a later time, also used moose for sleigh rides, the Yakuts for horseback riding. In the 17th century, in the Scandinavian countries, elks in a sledge were used to transport couriers.

In Soviet times, the elk attracted attention primarily as an animal capable of transporting goods through the taiga wilderness. With the advent of snowmobiles, this need has disappeared, but the results of many years of scientific research carried out on the farm are very impressive. They gave valuable knowledge in the field of physiology, ecology, the behavior of this most interesting animal, and made it possible to gain experience in keeping it in semi-free conditions. As of the late 1980s, there were several dozen moose on the farm. Research on the domestication (domestication) of the elk is one of the scientific tasks of the reserve.