Khopyor Nature Reserve | Wikipedia audio article

Khopyor Nature Reserve (Russian: Хопёрский
заповедник) (also Khopersky) is a Russian ‘zapovednik’ (strict nature reserve)
that protects a stretch of 50 km along the Khopyor River in the Voronezh Oblast. About 80% of the area is covered by forests,
dominated floodplain and upland oak woods, small areas of steppes and meadows. There are about 400 lakes and oxbows. The reserve is situated in the Novokhopyorsky
District of Voronezh Oblast.==Topography==
The Khopyor Reserve has a terrain that is forested floodplains and upland oak woods,
along both banks of the Khopyer. The Khopyer river is the largest tributary
of the Don River (Russia). During high water, a significant portion of
the area in the reserve boundaries may be inundated. About 80% of the area is covered with forests,
with steppes and meadows. The Khopyor River and tributary streams meander
through the floodplains to leave 400 lakes and oxbows. The floodplains also create grassy bogs and
black alder forests. The area in on an post-glacial plain of Quaternary
sediments. The width of the reserve ranges from 1.5 km
to 9 km.==Climate and Ecoregion==
Khopyor is located in the East European forest steppe ecoregion, a transition zone between
the broadleaf forests of the north and the grasslands to the south. This ecoregion is characterized by a mosaic
of forests, steppe, and riverine wetlands. The climate of Khopyor is Humid continental
climate, cool summer (Köppen climate classification (Dwb) ). This climate is characterized by
high variation in temperature, both daily and seasonally; with dry winters and cool
summers. The coldest month, January, has an average
temperature of -6 C degrees; that of July averages 26 C degrees. On average, the precipitation in the reserves
averages 553 mm, spread approximately evenly through the year. Annual frost-free period averages 199 days. The winds are predominantly north-westerly.==
Flora and fauna==The plant life of the reserve represents a
meeting of steppe feather grass and forb steppe/broadleaf grasses. Typical trees are oak coppices, with mixtures
of ash, linden, maple and other tree species. Understory contains blackberry, buckthorn,
wild rose, and viburnum. Scientists on the reserve have recorded over
1,060 species of vascular plants. A major focus of the reserve is the preservation
of the vulnerable Russian muskrat. Along with the muskrat, the reserve has abundant
small mammals – shrews, mice, voles, squirrels, and hares – along with larger red deer, roe
deer, elk, and wild boar. Scientists on the reserve have recorded 45
species of mammals 236 species of bird have been recorded, along
with 48 species of fish (most commonly carp, roach, perch, tench, and pike). 9 species of amphibian are found -the European
fire-bellied toad, common frog, common toad, green frog, lake frog, pond frog, common frog,
grass frog, and moor frogs.==Ecoeducation and access==
As a strict nature reserve, the Khopyor Reserve is mostly closed to the general public, although
scientists and those with ‘environmental education’ purposes can make arrangements with park management
for visits. There are six ‘ecotourist’ routes in the reserve,
however, that are open to the public, but require permits to be obtained in advance. These ecotourist routes are typically guided
hikes of 5-15 km, or motorboat tours. There is one 50 km kayak route that requires
advance arrangements. There is also a nature museum that was opened
in 1936. The main office is in the village of Varvara
Novokhopersk.==See also==
List of Russian Nature Reserves (class 1a ‘zapovedniks

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