NAME OF BIOSPHERE RESERVE - Commander Islands

Ecological characteristics: The Commander Islands’ nature complexes are typical representatives of the island and marine ecosystems of the Pacific North-West and they have no analogues considering their unique character and high level of preservation. There are no forests here. Development of mountain tundra took place without any permafrost and phytophagous animals. Unusual combination of flora and fauna species of the Asian and American origin is registered here. A diversity of endemic plants and animals inhabits the Reserve: Arctic foxes, rock ptarmigan, murrelet, wren, American finch, island wormwood, etc. The islands are remarkable for diversity of sea mammals and marine birds forming multispecies concentrations. Sea otter, harbour and larga seals, Steller’s sea lion and fur seals live here. Feeding or wintering grounds, or migration routes of sperm, killer, beaked, and minke whales, porpoise etc. (total 21 cetacean species) are located near the Islands’ shores. About 50% representatives of the sea mammals’ fauna are among rare and endangered ones. About 20 species of marine birds (35% of nesting avifauna) form breeding colonies (more than 1 million birds in total). Ice-free coast attracts 16 species of anseriformes for wintering. Especially high diversity of subaquatic landscapes and biocenoses (from littoral to ultra abyssal) is concentrated in the limits of 30-mile zone only.

Declaration date: 2002 Surface area: Total 3648679 ha

Core area: 1290671 ha (of which marine: 1250000 ha)

Buffer zone: 12177408 ha (of which marine: 2112900 ha)

Transition areas: 180600 ha (of which marine: 100400 ha)

Administrative division: Kamchatski krai

Human activities: Uncontrolled catch of hydrobionts in the coastal waters; alien species introduction (Northern reindeer, red vole, American mink); poaching of salmons, sea otters, harbour seals, wintering anseriformes, etc.; oil pollution of the coastal waters and seashores; recreation press in the coastal areas; uncontrolled use of transport (off-road vehicles, etc.).

Protection classifications: State nature reserve (Zapovednik)

Contact information: Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve, 10/1, 50 Let Oktyabrya St., Nikolskoe village, Aleutskiy District, Kamchatski krai, 684500 Russia. Tel./fax: +7 415 22 55418, E-mail: gpz_komandorskiy@mail.iks.ru, web-site http://komand-reserve.ru