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The "Kivach" nature reserve

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The "Kivach" nature reserve

The nature reserve was named after "Kivach" waterfall, known in Russia since the time of G.R. Derzhavin. Thanks to the waterfall the nature reserve has such a unique look. The waterfall has been a point of interest in Karelia and has been often visited for already 3 centuries.

Water flow has four stages, total height of them is about 11 m. Diabase rocks serve as a magnificent background to the flow of water. The word "Kivach" in Russian means either "stone" (from Fin. kivi), or "snow mountain" (from Kar. kivas).

There are 14 lakes within the reserve - bigger ones at its border and closed small lakes. About 5% of the area is occupied by more than 50 various bogs, with afforestation as their characteristic feature. The main water-way crossing the reserve is the river Suna in which flow the river Sandalka and a few forest streams.

The main riches of the taiga reserve are native forest tracts that cover 85% of the area. The pine forests and fir groves of different kinds are the main part of the forest, also old woods, with the average age of 200 years, have particular value.

On old cutting areas one can see deciduous forests consisting of birch and aspen. There are also bird cherry, speckled alder, mountain ash and about ten species of willow in underwoods and bottomlands. Here one can find relict for Karelia species such as European alder, little-leaf linden and Scotch elm. Forest tracts are interspersed with the areas of old - age meadows.

The diversity of flora is extremely wide here for the middle taiga, the main reason for that is the heterogeneity of relief and mixed top-soil.

The scientists have described 325 species of lichen, 195 species of mosses and about 800 species of vascular plants, 7 of which are inscribed in The Red Book of Russia. Together with the European Middle Taiga species one can see for example, Siberian, North taiga, Arctic, Subarctic and Arctic-Alpine ones.
There are 24 species of the northern orchids in the reserve; among them are lady-slipper, 3 kinds of epipactis and some orchids-saprophytes such as coral-root.

More than 900 species of mushrooms were discovered here, from them 503 species of blewits and 250 species of wood mushrooms. 5 species are inscribed in The Red Book of Russia. Undisturbed natural system contribute to preservation of a rich animal life. Of invertebrates the most deeply studied are the spiders - 275 species, hymenoptera - 549 (3 - The Red Book of Russia), beetles - 780, butterflies - 1006 (3 - The Red Book of Russia) and diptera - 1039 species. The main population of vertebrates are the forest species, however, quite a lot of them are here at the northern or the southern border of their areal. The area of the reserve is a refuge for 47 species of mammals. Bears and elks, martens and weasels, squirrels and hares, badgers and lynces live here under natural situations. They are very cautious and rarely catch people's eyes. Foxes are to be found closer to protected area. Also here live some rare species, for example, gluttons. The fauna of the region was influenced by people: European beaver and European mink disappeared, American mink, American beaver, racoondog and muskrats appeared.

One is impressed by the variety of birds: 128 species nest in the reserve, sum total recorded 216, which is, without sea-birds, 90% of Karelian ornithofauna. The reserve is located on the way their migration and is the key ornithological area of international importance. The birds population consists mainly of the species characteristic of taiga.

In rivers and lakes of the reserve live 25 species of fish. Among them are the usual ones such as pike, small fry, perch, vendace and the species that have become rare: stream trout, grayling, lake salmon. Fauna's diversity is supplemented with 5 species of amphibious and 3 species of creepers, from which triton is very rare.

Veritable value and property of our country is its astonishing nature, which is different in each geographical location. Untouched nooks of this wealth are preserved by means of our country's nature preservation system. The "Kivach" nature reserve which includes the peculiarities of the southern Karelia's nature is one of the islets of this green region.

The "Kivach" nature reserve was established in 1931, it is situated in the middle taiga climatic zone. Perhaps the reason for its establishing was aspiration to preserve the woods that surround the plain waterfall Kivach on the river Suna. The waterfall is now a centre of the preserved territory.

The area of the reserve is not large, it is about 100 sq. km., but it has diverse natural components. The area's base consists of rocks formed 2,5 milliard years ago. They can also be viewed on the surface. Here, four different peculiar for Karelia landscapes are observed on a limited area. The components of the relief are the imprint of glaciations that can be traced back 15 thousand years or are a result of water from melted glaciers. Their alignment indicates the way the glacier moved: from north-west to south-east. The altitude marks are from 50 to 170 m above sea level.

The climate of the reserve is transitional from sea to continental. Long, relatively mild winter and short cool summer, considerable cloudiness and large humidity are typical of the climate. Mid-annual rainfall is more than 600 mm. Stable blanket of snow lasts for about 150 days.

Together with the nature conservancy, the reserve has another function - it is a research and development institution. Scientific department performs continual researches of natural environment, keeps a monitoring look-out, records "A Chronicle of Nature".

According to a contemporary interpretation, a nature reserve is a peculiar ecological education resource. Reserved areas are guarded, but the excursion area is open for visiting. It includes: waterfall Kivach, nature museum, green collection of trees and bushes, monument to the soldiers died defending the area during the WWII and also some servicing buildings. Here one can attend an excursion, where he or she can learn about the reserve's nature and history in detail.

On the actual reserved territory a few ecological routes are built, with the length from 3 to 10 km. Walking-tours in the area last 2-4 hours and are held only by request made in advance and are accompanied by the museum's representative.

Along the road leading to the waterfall, age-old coniferous forest and small forest lakes will pleas your eyes. The road is surfaced on the reserved land. The rules of the nature reserve forbid to stop when you travel on this road.

Arriving for an excursion, remember, that nature need careful treatment. When you leave, take with you only the pictures on your camera. Abiding by the simple rules of visiting the reserved area helps to preserve the wild nature beauty for future generations.  



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