Ussurisky Nature Reserve

Ussurisky Nature Reserve (Russian: Уссурийский заповедникUssuriyskiy zapavyednik) (also Ussuriysky; V.L. Komarov Reserve) is a Russian ‘zapovednik’ (strict nature reserve) that protects one of the remaining virgin mixed deciduous-conifer forests in the Primorsky (Maritime) region of the Russian Far East. The mountainous terrain is located on a southern spur of the Sikhote-Alin Mountains, in the upper reaches of the Komarovka River, about 50 km northeast of the city of Vladivostok. The reserve is named after Vladimir L. Komarov, an important early botanist and early explorer of the Primorsky region. The Ussursisky Reserve is situated in the Shkotovsky District of Primorsky Krai.[1][2]

Ussurisky Nature Reserve
Russian: Уссурийский заповедник
(Also: Ussuriysky, V.L. Komarov Reserve)

Ussurisky Zapovednik

Location of Reserve
Location Primorsky Krai
Nearest city Ussuriysk


Area 40,432 hectares (99,910 acres; 156 sq mi)
Established 1932 (1932)
Governing body Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Russia)

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The Ussurisky Reserve lies in the Przewalski Mountains, as this southern spur of the Sikhote-Alin is known. The terrain is mountainous and forested; in the east of the reserve are the headwaters of the right tributaries of the Artemivka River. To the west and north, the foothills flatten out towards the lowlands of Lake Khanka, which is 100 km to the northwest. The main line of the Sikhote-Alin runs towards the northeast. The average altitude is 400–500 meters above sea level, 700 meters. The headwaters of the Komarovka River flow out of the reserve west to the city of Ussuriysk, the Artemivka River flows south into the Ussuri Bay of the Sea of Japan.[2]

Ussurisky is located in the Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion, a region in the middle Amur River basin, in the Russian Far East, on the west slope of the Sikhote-Alin Mountains.[3][4]

The climate of Ussurisky is Humid continental climate, warm summer subtype (Köppen climate classification(Dwb)).[5][6] The average temperature in January (the coldest month) is -17,9 C degrees, and +19.7 C degrees in August (the warmest month).

Because the reserve has been built up over time since its creation in 1932, some of the sectors have had long term protection, while others have experience commercial logging. This allows scientists to track the differing recovery processes of the forest ecosystems. The core, oldest protected area is about 16,000 hectares, about one-third of the territory. The main tree species are cedar-broadleaf species such as Manchurian ash and Japanese elm in the lowlands, Korean pine and broadleaf forests in the middle elevations.[7]

The animal life of the reserve is notable for being almost entirely upland forest, unlike the other southern Sikhote-Alin reserves, such as Lazovsky Nature Reserve to the east, which are close to the coast and have animals of slow moving river valleys and meadows. There are no elk, ermine or wolverine, for example. Characteristics mammals are mice, voles, musk deer, and in general residents of the Manchurian animal communities. The reserve operates a rehabilitation center for orphaned bear cubs, teaching them to live in the wild.[7]

There are also a few Siberian tigers in the area. The reserve, along with Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, is featured in the natural film Operation Snow Tiger by the BBC, first aired in 2013.[8]

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