NAME OF BIOSPHERE RESERVE - Okskiy

Ecological characteristics: The Reserve is located in the south-eastern part of the Meshera lowland and includes flood plains of the Oka River. The Pra River, a tributary of the Oka, which forms part of the Reserve’s boundary, is considered one of the cleanest rivers in European part of Russia. The Reserve's territory is covered with pine, birch, and deciduous forests, with occasional oak groves. There are many bogs and lakes inhabited by dozens of species of fish and reptiles. Plant world includes 800 vascular and flowering species and 150 fungi species, including 69 rare and five disappearing species. Over 50 species of mammals and 240 species of bids found at the protected territory, including the rare desman, black stork, white-tailed eagle, and several species of bumblebees. The Reserve’s staff conducts ecological education for the surrounding community and visitors to the area to convey the importance of conservation of the diversity of plant and animal species located in the region. A nature museum of the Reserve hosts school children and other local interested groups, increasing overall environmental awareness in the region. The Reserve is home to two famous breeding and reintroduction centers: for the Caucasian-Byelovezh bison and for rare crane species, such as Siberian, red- crowned, and hooded cranes.

Declaration date: 1978

Surface area: Total 77193 ha

Core area: 22604 ha

Buffer zone: 21449 ha

Transition areas: 33140 ha

Administrative division: Ryazanskaya oblast

Human activities: People having impact on the Reserve’s territory can be divided into three categories: Reserve staff living in cordons and in the central village (180 people); local residents, living near the Reserve (about 2000); and visiting tourists, hunters, and fishermen (up to 10,000).

Protection classifications: State nature reserve (Zapovednik)

Contact information: Okskiy Biosphere Reserve, p/o Lakash, Spassky district, Ryazanskaya oblast, 391072 Russia. Tel./fax: + 7 491 35 72274, E-mail: obz@mail.ru