Zabaykalsky National Park, Russia


Zabaykalsky National Park is one of the main natural attractions of the Republic of Buryatia and a visiting card of Lake Baikal. The park combines pristine natural territories, diverse and picturesque landscapes, as well as a rich fauna. All this splendor opens up great opportunities for excellent recreation, recreational fishing, sports and educational tourism.

The Zabaykalsky Natural Park was founded in September 1986. The main purpose of its creation is to preserve the natural complex of the Baikal basin. Until 1995, the park was called the Transbaikal State Natural National Park in the Buryat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, later it was given its present name - Transbaikal National Park. The total area of ​​the park is 269.1 thousand hectares. The territory of the national park includes 37 thousand hectares of the water area of ​​Lake Baikal.



The territory of the Zabaikalsky National Park belongs to the Central Baikal eastern climatic region and is characterized by a continental climate with long cold winters and warm, sometimes dry summers. Lake Baikal has a moderating effect on the climate of the coastal part.

The average temperature in January is −18–19 °С, in July +12–14 °С. In the mountains, the average January temperature drops to -23-25 °C, and in places (in intermountain depressions) to -27 °C. The maximum average July temperatures in intermountain depressions are up to + 18.5 °C. The absolute temperature maximum is +36 °C and the absolute minimum is -50 °C.

The water in Baikal, even in the hottest time, rarely warms up above +14 °C. The average annual precipitation ranges from 350 mm on the coast to 450 mm in the mountains. West and southwest winds prevail.


Geology and relief

The national park is located within a typical mountain-taiga region. Within the boundaries of the park, large orographic units are distinguished: the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula, the Barguzinsky Range, the Chivyrkuisky Isthmus and the Ushkany Islands.

Two mountain ranges extend across the territory of the park in the north-east direction: Barguzinsky, gradually descending from the Barguzinsky Reserve to Barmashev Lake (the highest elevation of the ridge within the park is 2376 meters above sea level) and the Sredinny Ridge of the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula, gradually descending from the center of the peninsula to north and south (the highest mark in the middle part is 1877 m).

The Chivyrkui Isthmus connects the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula with the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. The Ushkany Islands are the peaks of the underwater Academic Ridge, which divides the Baikal depression into two basins - northern and southern.

The territory of the national park is distributed according to the steepness of the slopes as follows: 26° and above (steep slopes) - 55%, from 16° to 25° - 28%, from 0 to 15° - 17%.



The land border of the national park runs along the watershed of the Barguzin river basin, which is outside the park. Many small rivers flow in the park (Burtui, Maly Chivirkuy, etc.). All of them have closed pools and carry their waters to Baikal. The most significant of them are: Bolshaya Cheremshana, Malaya Cheremshana, Bolshoi Chivirkuy.

The largest lakes - Arangatui and Small Arangatui - are located on the Chivyrkuisky Isthmus and are connected to the Chivyrkuisky Bay. The next largest lake, Barmashovoe, is known for its mineral waters. In addition, there are more than two dozen karst lakes.

On the territory of the park there are outlets of thermal waters - springs Zmeiny, Nechaevsky, Kulinoe.

The borders of the national park included 37 thousand hectares of the water area of Lake Baikal (27 thousand hectares in the Chivyrkuisky Bay and 10 thousand hectares in the Barguzinsky Bay). The bays are separated by the Chivyrkui Isthmus, a bridge formed by sediments from the Barguzin and Maly Chivyrkui rivers.



Soil-forming rocks are diverse and are represented by eluvium of bedrocks. Soils in the park are mostly small-profile, gravelly, easily washed away by precipitation and blown by the wind in the absence of vegetation.

The distribution of soils occurs according to the altitudinal-zonal principle:

The main soil background of the tundra-bald forest complex (1400–2600 m a.s.l.) is represented by mountain tundra fragmentary, mountain tundra peaty and humus, and mountain tundra gley permafrost soils.
In the soil cover of the subalpine-subalpine forest complex (1300–2000 m a.s.l.), the main background is formed by mountain-tundra humus, mountain-tundra soddy-humus, mountain-taiga peaty-podzolic, and mountain-taiga humus-peaty soils.
In the cedar-taiga (1000-1800 m above sea level) and cedar-fir taiga complexes, the main background is formed by mountain-taiga humus-peaty-podzolic, peaty-podzolic, humus-peaty soils. In combination with them, mountain-taiga peaty-podzolic-gley and soddy-humus soils are developed.
The main background of the light coniferous larch-taiga forest complex (600–1500 m a.s.l.) is formed by soddy forest and soddy-calcareous soils. Meadow permafrost soils are widespread in the negative relief elements.
The soil cover of the meadow-steppe (455–950 m a.s.l.) and subtaiga-forest-steppe (500–1200 m a.s.l.) forest complexes is dominated by mountain soddy-frozen and soddy-podzolic soils. Part of the area is occupied by boron sands. The soil cover under the sedge-reed grass thickets is represented by frozen marsh soils.
The great diversity of the soil cover within the forest complexes is created by the features of the micro- and mesorelief and the diversity of soil-forming rocks.



The territory of the national park is included in the zone of subtaiga forests of the southern taiga of Siberia. In the structure of the vegetation cover, the vertical zonality characteristic of the mountains of Transbaikalia is clearly traced.

Coniferous species dominate in the composition of forest plantations: ordinary pine (Pinus sylvestris) - 33.6%, dwarf pine (Pinus pumila) - 29.2%, Siberian cedar (Pinus sibirica) - 13.5%, Gmelin larch (Larix gmelmii) - 9.1%, Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) - 5.4%. Deciduous plantations occupy insignificant areas: stone and broad-leaved birch (Betula ermanii, B. platyphylla) - 4.3%, aspen (Populus tremula) - 3.9%.

There are a number of features in the distribution of the mountain taiga forests of the park. In contrast to the continental mountains of Siberia, where larch (Larix gmelmii) and cedar-larch (Pinus sibirica - Larix gmelmii) forests in forest belts are predominantly developed, their areas in the national park are small (about 14 thousand hectares). They are distributed in islands along river terraces on moraines. In the north-west of the Svyatoi Nos peninsula, larch plantations (Larix gmelinii) grow in tongues up to the upper border of the forest. The rest of the territory of the peninsula within the forest belt is occupied by pine (Pinus sylvestris) forests. They also predominate on the western slope of the Barguzin Ridge (from the Bolshoi Dry Stream to the mouth of the Barguzin River).

The dark coniferous forests of the park (from Siberian fir - Abies sibirica) occupy separate areas and for the most part gravitate towards the most humid coast of Baikal, and are also found in the northeast of the Svyatoy Nos peninsula. On the eastern shore of Lake Baikal, Siberian dwarf pine (Pinus pumila) appears in the undergrowth. In some parts of the coast, together with other coniferous species, it forms a special type of community corresponding to the belt of wet Baikal forests. On the Svyatoi Nos peninsula, it is represented only in fragments.

The flora includes many endemic, rare and relict plants. Various types of steppe phytocenoses have a relict origin, plant communities of high-mountain complexes with alpine shrubs on the Ushkany Islands and the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula are valuable. More than 10 thousand hectares of natural plantations of special value have been identified in the national park, including forests of pine (Pinus sylvestris), Gmelin larch (Larix gmelinii), Siberian cedar (Pinus sibirica) and Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) aged 200 years and older. The communities of Siberian dwarf pine (Pinus pumila) and dwarf dwarf birch (Betula divaricata) are especially valuable. Chosenia (Chosenia arbutifolia) is of particular interest as a rare species on the western border of its range. According to preliminary estimates, the flora of the park is more than 700 species of vascular plants. There are habitats of many species listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, 19 endemic species, 9 species rare in Baikal, including Tiling's borodinia (Borodinia tilingii).



300 species of terrestrial vertebrates have been registered on the territory of the national park: 50 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 3 reptiles and 3 species of amphibians. The most common species of mammals of medium and large sizes: mountain hare (Lepus timidus), squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), muskrat (Ondatra zibethica), sable (Martes zibellina), stoat (M. erminea), brown bear (Ursus arctos), noble deer (Cervus elaphus), elk (Alces alces). The Ushkany Islands are the most important rookery of the Baikal seal (Phoca sibirica) on Baikal. 49 species of terrestrial vertebrates found in the park are listed in the Red Data Books of the Russian Federation and/or the Republic of Buryatia.

The ichthyofauna of the Barguzinsky and Chivyrkuisky bays, lakes and rivers of the park is represented by such fish species as omul (Coregonus autum-nalis), whitefish (C. lavaretus), Siberian grayling (Thymallus arcticus), burbot (Lota lota), pike (Esox lucius), perch (Perca fluviatilis), dace (Leuciscus leuciscus), ide (Lidus), common roach (Rutilus rutilus), etc. Chivyrkuisky Bay is one of the main places where the lacustrine form of whitefish spawns.


Natural and archaeological monuments

There are many unique natural objects on the territory of the national park. Of these, 17 were declared natural monuments even before the creation of the park. These are landscape monuments of nature (Ongokonsky Cape, Bolshoy Baklany Island, Ushkany Islands), geological (Malocheremshanskaya Cave, Singing Sands, Big and Small Kyltygey Islands, Kameshek-Bezymyanny Island), water (Snake Springs, Kuliny Bogs, Nechaevsky, Lake Arangatui), botanical (tract Cheremshanskaya grove).

The historical and cultural complex of the park includes natural and historical monuments (serifs Monakhovskaya, Nizhneizgolovskaya, Zimoveynomysskaya, Shimaiskaya), many archaeological sites, including Neolithic sites, slab graves of the 2nd century BC. BC e. and graves of late nomads of the XIV-XV centuries, traces of an ancient irrigation system, 35 settlements of the Bronze and Early Iron Ages.