National Nature Reserve  Stolby

Environmental and geographical background

The Stolby National Nature Reserve is located at the border between the northwestern offshoots of the Eastern Sayan mountains and the Central Siberian Plateau, where the plateau joins the West-Siberian Plain and the Altay-Sayan Mountains. The reserve is naturally bounded by the right tributaries of the Yenisey River (the Bazaiha River on the northeast, the Mana and Bolshaya Slizneva rivers on the south and south-west) and approaches the outskirts of Krasnoyarsk city in the northeast.

The reserve is known for 100 m deep karst caves but is especially famous as a site where about a hundred rocks are scattered amid the taiga. The rocks are 60-90 m high, occasionally over 90 m, and are composed of Cambrian (600 myr) to Carboniferous (350 - 300 myr) syenites, volcanics, and sediments.

The reserve was created in 1925 on the public initiative of Krasnoyarsk citizens seeking to preserve the nature around the picturesque rock pillars. Nowadays its area covers about 200 square miles. About 5 square miles of the territory, the nearest to the city, is used as a recreation area visited by over 200 thousand tourists yearly.

Mountains make the climate in the reserve milder than the continental climate of the forested steppe in its surroundings. It has lower mean annual air temperatures (- 1.2 oC against +0.3 oC), 1.5 times higher humidity and precipitation (686 mm), and a shorter vegetation period (138 days).

Soils and vegetation in the area vary with altitude. The lowlands are covered mainly by deciduous trees and light conifers and the highlands by light and dark coniferous taiga.

The unique position of the reserve at the junction of three different geographical and floristic provinces (forested steppe in the Krasnoyarsk region, mountain taiga in the Eastern Sayans, and taiga in the Central Siberian Plateau) accounts for the high diversity of its fauna and flora. The flora counts up to 1037 species including 260 species of mosses. More than 150 species are under special protection. Eight basic tree species are represented mainly by pines (41%) and firs (28%).

Animals (58 species) are represented mainly by species typical of southeastern Siberia, such as wolf, bear, glutton, hear, Siberian deer, musk deer, etc. Moreover, sables and two imported species of mink and musk-rat were successfully reacclimatized and acclimatized in the 1950s. The 199 species of birds include tomtit, nuthatch, waxwing, redpoll, hazel-hen, nutcracker, woodpecker, blue nightingale, chaffinch, etc. The average density of the bird population is 400-600 birds per square kilometer.

The reserve is a site of long term (about 75 years) studies of environmental issues, including the recreational and technlogical impacts on a natural system, and purposeful research of rare animal and plant species.


Stolby State Nature Reserve, 26-A Kar'yernaja 660006, Krasnoyarsk 

Director Scherbakov Vyacheslav Mihaylovich

Tel. (391) 261-17-10


E.O. Yegorushkin. A trip around The Stolby Reserve

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