Sayano-Shushensky Reserve celebrates its birthday

Sayano-Shushensky Reserve celebrates its birthday

17 March 2016

The Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve marked its 40th anniversary. It was established on 17 March 1976, in southern Krasnoyarsk Territory, on the left bank of the Yenisei River along the Sayano-Shushenskoye Reservoir.


The reserve’s history is linked to the construction of the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station. It was assumed that creating a specially protected area would help compensate for the damage done to nature during the construction of a dam. Scientists faced the task of preserving the ecosystem in the same condition as it was before the power station was built.


In 1985, the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve was included in UNESCO’s world network of biosphere reserves. Participants in the programme exchange knowledge and experience, hold joint educational and research programmes and monitoring surveys, and take joint decisions concerning nature protection.


The reserve encompasses 390,000 hectares of taiga, forest steppe, steppe, alpine meadows, bald mountains, tundra and alpine tundra. The local nature is quite rich, with over 2,000 species of plants and animals in the reserve, 100 of which are rare or endangered and are listed in the Russian Red Data Book. In particular, the slopes of Western Sayan are inhabited by snow leopards, protected with the support of the Russian Geographical Society. In addition, the reserve’s researchers successfully implement projects to study the population status of other endangered cats ‒ the lynx and Pallas’s cat ‒ living in southern Siberia.