Ecological characteristics: The Reserve (previously a National Park) was established to protect the untouched nature complex of the Vodlozero Lake and Ileksa River basin with its typical zonal ecosystems and unique nature objects. Fresh water lakes occupy more than 10% of the territory of the Reserve. The largest of them is Vodlozero - 358 km2, with 438 km of jagged shoreline. The rivers and lakes are rich in fish (21 species). The most common are: pike-perch, pike and whitefish. The Reserve comprises the largest area of primary old-growth coniferous forests in Europe. The forests have never been logged. Spruce and pine stands dominate here and giant Siberian larches can be found here at their westernmost boundary. The average age of trees is 200-280 years but some trees reach the age of 500 years. The area lies on the migratory route of many birds. The forest provides habitats for wild forest reindeer, elk, wolf, brown bear, lynx etc. Along the rivers and lakes it is possible to see white-tailed eagles and ospreys. About 40% of the territory occupied by mires; this is one of the special features of the Reserve. The mires differ in type, structure and vegetation. Five vascular species and two lichen species were included into the Red Data Book of Russia.

Declaration date: 2001

Surface area: Total 862360 ha

Core area: 92141 ha

Buffer zone: 320219 ha

Transition areas: 450000 ha

Administrative division: Republic of Karelia and Archangelskaya oblast

Human activities: Industrial fishing in lake Vodlozero especially during spawning season negatively affects ichthyocenosis of the Reserve. Cutting of forests along its border leads to weakening of the forests and heighten risk of a wind-fallen trees. Exploitation of Aganozero deposit may also negatively impact ecosystems protected in the Reserve.

Protection classifications: National park

Contact information: Vodlozersky Biosphere Reserve, 44, Parkovaya St., Petrozavodsk City, Republic of Karelia, 185002, Russia. Tel./fax: + 7 814 2 764417, E-mail:, web-site: