Ecological characteristics: The Reserve is located in the highlands of the Altai Mountains at altitudes from 745 to 4506 m a.s.l. near the borders of Russia and Kazakhstan. The highest peak of Siberia – Mt. Belukha, the sacred site for local people and followers of N. Roerikh – is situated in the transition zone. The Reserve occupies a transboundary position in more than merely political sense: it is located at the junction of different floristic subkingdoms, resulting in great diversity of species and plant communities. Land cover is represented by the system of altitudinal belts, including steppes, mountain woods, sublapine and alpine meadows and shrubs, mountain tundra, nival complexes and glaciers of the most significant center of modern glaciation in Siberia. Habitats of endangered snow leopard (Uncia uncia) are included into the core and transition zones of the reserve. Nine plant species are included into the Red Data Book of Russia (Rheum altaicum, Paeonia hybrida, Stipa pennata, Rhodiola rosea etc.). 20 endagered birds are under protection in the core zone of the reserve, including Pandion haliaetus and Aegypius monachus from IUCN Red Lists. The Reserve is designated as a cluster of “The Golden Mountains of Altai” World Heritage Site.

Declaration date: 2000

Surface area: Total 695262 ha

Core area: 151637 ha

Buffer zone: 57515 ha

Transition areas: ~500000 ha

Administrative division: Altai Republic

Protection classifications: State nature reserve (Zapovednik)

Human activities: In general, natural ecosystems of the reserve are weakly affected by human activities. The major types of land use are active recreation, grazing, and traditional land use practices - unique maral (Red deer) farms, apiculture, collection of medicinal herbs and other non-timber products, hunting and fishing. Main ecological challenges are posed by excessive collection of non-timber products and non-regulated recreation

Contact information: Katunskiy Biosphere Reserve, 1, Zapovednaya St., Settlement Ust-Koksa, Altai Republic, 649490 Russia. Tel./fax: + 7 388 48 22946, Email:, web-site: