Central Chernozem Preserve

Central Chernozem Preserve

 

(full name, the Professor V. V. Alekhin Central Chernozem Preserve), a preserve organized in 1935, originally consisting of the Streletskii and Kazatskii sections in Kursk Oblast and the Iamskoi section in Belgorod Oblast; named the same year in honor of the Soviet geobo-tanist V. V. Alekhin. The preserve is situated in the forest-steppe zone of the European part of the USSR. Area, 4,795 hectares (1977).

Typical and leached chernozem soils, as well as soils in which chernozem alternates with clay islets, predominate in the preserve. Vegetation is of the typical forest-steppe variety. Oak forests, constituting 32 percent of the wooded area, alternate with meadow virgin steppe. The steppe has forbs with various grasses, including feather grass and awnless bromegrass. The brilliantly colored flowers of the forbs and the alternation of their biological aspects, which reach as many as 16, make the preserve’s steppe especially noteworthy.

High saturation is characteristic of the steppe’s flora; there are as many as 83 plant species and as many as 1,000 specimens per sq m. There are 873 species of vascular plants, including 12 that are included in the Red Data Book of Wild Species of Flora in the USSR in Need of Protection. Relict plants have been recorded in the Iamskoi section (Kozo-Polianskii rock jasmine), Barkalovka (Julia daphne), and Bukreevye Barmy (Zavadskii dendranthem).

The preserve has 40 mammal species, including the European elk, roe deer, wild boar, fox, European hare, stone marten, European marten, mole rat, and vole. Occasionally the birch mouse Sicista subtilis is encountered. There are 150 species of birds, including 89 nesting species, such as the black kite, nightingale, cuckoo, great spotted woodpecker, Hungarian partridge, and various warbler species. Birds less commonly found include the hoopoe and corncrake; bustards fly through on occasion.

The preserve also has six reptile species, including the steppe viper (Vípera ursini) and the lizard Lacería agilis. It has seven species of amphibians, including Bufo viridis, Pelobates fuscus, and Bombina bombina.

REFERENCES

Alekhin, V. V. Tsentral’no-Chernozemnye stepi. Voronezh, 1934.
Trudy Tsentral’no-Chernozemnogo gosudarstvennogo zapovednika, vols. 1–11. Moscow, 1940–71.

A. M. KRASNITSKII

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