Zakatala State Reserve


The Zakatala State Reserve was established in 1929 on an area of 25218 hectares, including 48 hectares of water reservoirs. During the period of its existence, the reserve has belonged to different organizations and its area and borders have been repeatedly changed. The reserve is situated on the territory of Zakatala and Belocan regions, precisely in the middle part of the southern slope of the Major Caucasian Range, at a height

of 650-3,646 m above sea-level. The reserve territory has a complicated relief due to spurs of the major ridge extending to the south and south- east: Agkemal, Katslar,Rochigel, Pichgel, Khalagel, Ruchug, Mrovdag and others, which are separated from each other by deep river valleys (canyons). Slopes with a steepness of 40-80o and more occupy an area of more than 450 hectares; slopes with a steepness of 25-40m prevail. The relief reflects the activity of glaciers and other forms of erosion. The asymmetry of the river basin is typical: the mountain slopes, deep canyons and valleys are sharply shaped.

The Zakatala reserve was organized with the purpose of protecting and studying the fauna and flora of the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus.

The reserve territory is referred to by botanists as the Iberian area of the Caucasus flora province. At the end of the Tertiary period, the forests of this area had a different composition, with a considerable touch of elements of the Girkan forests, and were much richer than the present ones. Contemporary flora of the reserve has more than a thousand species. Such representatives of ancient plants as rhododendron yellow, Laurocerasus officinalis, Caucasian billberry-bush, Taxus baccata, maple, Polypodiophyta and others are preserved on this territory. The main forest-forming species of the reserve - Fagus orientalis, as well as Quercus iberica and Corylus colurna are also referred to as ancient plants. The representatives of rare plants: Taxus baccata, apple-tree, ash-tree, birch-tree, alder-tree, cherry-tree, pear- tree and others are observed as well.

The fauna of the reserve is rich in species composition. They are: Dagestan aurochs, chamois, red deer, roe, brown bear, fox, badger, Mustela nivalis, pine marten and stone marten, lynx, squirrel and others. There are 104 species of birds, including some birds of prey: long-eared owl, golden eagle (Aquilla chrysaetos), Cerchneis tinnunculus, Neophron percnopterus, griffon (Gyps fulvus), bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), black vulture and others. There are some rare, specially protected species of birds: bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus), peregrin (Falco peregrinus), Tetraogallus, Accipiter badius, which are registered in the Red Book.

There are 8 species of Amphibians: Triturus cristatus, Pelodytes caucasicus, green and common toads, frogs Caucasian and of Asia Minor and Hylidae. Representatives of reptiles are: grass-snakes, water snakes, Aesculapian snake, blind snake, wood snake (Coluber), five different speciaes of lizards, Coronella austriaca, etc. Pelodytes caucasicus and Coluber are included in the Red Book.

The main protected objects are the preserved natural complexes of the middle and, partially, lower mountainous forests of subalpine, alpine and neval belts of the southern macroslopes of the Greater Caucasus, as well as diverse fauna and flora including a range of species and subspecies documented in the Red Book.



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