For many years the famous
Barguzinsky reserve, founded before the revolution, was the only Baikal reserve.
Finally, in 1969 on the territory of Buriat Republic another reserve, Baikalsky, was
found. It was found on the southern coast of the lake, in the central part of the
mountain range Hamar-Daban, where peaks as high as 200 meters rise as bastions of
primordial nature. 165000 hectares of unchopped forests and uncut alpine meadows, dense
undergrowth of cedar creeper and mountainous tundras were taken under guard.
Hamar-Daban is the wettest corner of the whole Pribaikalye - the biggest quantity of
precipitations in the Eastern Siberia fall on the north-western slope of the mountain
range. Rainstorms of almost tropical force fall here, fraught with floods, in summer,
blanket of snow two meters thick, under which ground is not frozen solid in some places,
builds up during winter. Humid, almost sea climate contributed to the evolution of
exceptionally rich and peculiar flora.
Inhabitants of Pribaikalye regions know
these places full of berries very well; people berry-pickers come here from distant
places. When someone comes to local woods for the first time, he is startled.
Sweet-smelling poplars up to 35 meters high rise to the sky in the river's valleys.
Some of the specimens are up to three spans in circumference. Blue pine trees, the
pride of Siberian taiga, glimmer as if they were covered with frost. Giant cedars,
among which patriarchs of 500 years of older can be found, shake their crowns on
Cups of different ferns grow under the canopy of the forest.
The cups are so high that to look into them one will have to stand on one's tiptoes.
Bright colors of taiga cereals rage on clearings. As botanists define, certain gigantism
of jungles can be noticed in trees as well as in grasses. It is the reason why
Hamar-Daban forests are called cold tropics.
It is rather hard to believe, but
long time ago, subtropical climate reigned over the Baikal. Light forests of oaks and
hornbeams grew on the shores in place of rigorous dark pine taiga, what can be
indisputably proven by the analysis of spores and pollen. As in oasis, sweet-smelling
poplar as well as blue pine remained like witnesses of those ancient times. But, what is
more incredible, 25 species of herbaceous plants survived glacial age. Only particularly
favorable conditions of Hamar-Daban " cold tropics" helped these relics
The flora of the preserve is rich, but the fauna is not poorer. It is even
hard to name all the animals of the taiga: bear, maral (red deer), elk, northern deer,
wolf, wild boar, roe deer, musk deer, box, badger, hare, lynx, wolverine, otter, sable,
High rocks seem to be uninviting, but they are hardly lifeless. Of course,
landscape is wild and rigorous there: rocky circuses hundreds meters high, mighty
glacial age. And extraordinary, majestic silence rules there-the silence of height.
Young biologist Alexander Bech, who traveled the preserve far and wide, once said about
When you are in these rocks, it feels as you were in temple! You try
to behave as silently as possible. It is pity that not everyone can see this beauty.
The northern deer sogjoy is considered permanent and the most common inhabitant of the
alpine zone. But how did he appear here? It turned out that it inhabited mountains of
southern Pribaikalye as far as in glacial age, scanty conditions were quite proper for
the deer. This strange relic animal is of -particular interest to science, especially
since its local population was never domesticated.
Birds inhabit the sky over
Hamar-Daban. Ptarmigans or tundra partridges nest in undergrowths of cedar creeper and
do not leave rocks even in winter. The birds are trusting. Beautiful snipes-dotterels
are also of trusting nature: when they sit on their nests one can see even touch of them.
It is very easy to find traces pf brown bear - dig-holes- on mountain meadows as
well as in taiga. The animals usually graze on open areas, eating juicy grass. Zoologists
found dig-holes near those places, where so-called golden root grows. It seems the
master of taiga restores its health with these healing roots, popular among local people.
The effect of protected territory appeared in less than 10 years after the
foundation of the reserve. Total amount of livestock of hoofed animals increased to 1,5-2
times, number of bears grew by 3 times and now they can be found everywhere in
As every preserve in our country, Baikalsky performs two
functions: preservation and study of the nature. One of the main works - compilation of
annual "Chronicle of nature". All employees of the scientific department gather
material for it and work it up. Results of observations made by forest protection
workers, students undergoing practical training, data from hydro meteorological stations,
reports from outside research organizations, working on the territory of the reserve
are used in this work as well
Even unnoticeable events are recorded in the "
Chronicle". Let us take for example the book of 1988 and know what was the spring
like in "cold tropics". By the way, scientists divide favorite season of
Siberians into four periods: forespring, primespring, motley spring, and green spring.
From this "Chronicle" -88 one can know that 1715 birds were ringed during their
spring flight (the reserve has permanent connection with central Bureau of ringing of
the Academy of science), summer length was 65 days, forest ranger Boutsky no less than 9
times met bears during the year, there was registered avalanche going down in the upper
reaches of Anosovka.
Based on publications from "Wanderings time"