History of foundation
Central Forest Nature Biosphere reserve (Zapovednik) was established in the 31 december of 1931 to protect and study of virgin fur - tree forests. Tsentralno-Lesnoi Zapovednik is established in order to preserve in pristine condition typical forest associations of the central forest zone and the animals inhabiting it.
The reserve is situated on the southeastern ridges of Valday Hills, on the main watershed of the Russian Plain, where two great Russian rivers - the Volga and the Zapadnaya (Western) Dvina begin. The modern hilly relief of the area was formed during the period of the Valday Glaciations and the raised nature of this watershed has protected the water sources from pollution. Similarly, the large expanse of forest situated far from any industrial centres has kept the air free from pollution. These factors have provided a stable state for the environment and that is why the Central Forest reserve can be considered a perfect model for southern taiga forests in the central part of European Russia.
Diversity of flora and fauna
Within the reserve are found flora species, which are characteristic of glacial periods. The reserve flora includes 150 moss species, 140 lichen species and 550 species of vascular plants. Some of the most interesting are the species of northern origin including: dwarf birch, cloudberries and bog cranberries. The reserve forest is rich with berry patches, bee-attracting plants as well as various medicinal plants. Species listed in the Red Books of both Russia and Tver region are carefully preserved, these include: lady's slipper, perennial honestry, rattlesnake fern, sinuate bittercress and Braun's holly fern.
This spruce forest has remained uncut for over 500 years and it is this very unique feature that has made the reserve famous among scientists worldwide. Such a model of southern taiga forest does not exist anywhere else in Europe.
54 animal species have been registered in the reserve; distinctive among them are the large predatory species: brown bear, wolf and lynx. There is also a high number of forest martens and racoon dogs (a species that was introduced to Europe from the Far East).
Of hoofed animals, both wild boar and elk can be met while representatives of the rodent order are also numerous. Flying squirrels live in the holes of old trees, and along the reserve’s streams and creeks beavers build their huts and dams. In the reserve there is a scientific and methodical centre for studying brown bear, wolves and lynx. On the protected territory the population density for brown bears is 0.8 animals per km?- this is the highest density in European Russia.
In the Central Forest reserve there are numerous and varied bird species and of the 212 species found, 143 are nesting birds. Capercaillies, hazel and black grouse are abundant. In the upper bogs, common cranes and various wader species can be found. From the species listed in the Red Book of Russia, one may encounter the golden eagle who nests permanently within the reserve while also frequently met are the black stork and the peregrine falcon and on rare occasions the osprey.
5 different reptiles inhabit this reserve; most often found is the common snake and the common lizard. Of the 6 amphibian species, the brown frog and the common toad are the most widespread.
Comparatively, the number of fish species is quite low - only about 20. In the Volga’s tributaries and in the Tudovka and the Nochna streams live the European grayling while in the Zapadnaya Dvina tributaries live brook trout. Both of these species are listed in the Red Book of Russia.