Global Network of National Geoparks

Protection of geological heritage in the Altai Mountains (Russia)

Published :March 31, 2008

T. Yashina
Katunskiy Biosphere Reserve, Ust-Koksa, Zapovednaya st., 1, Republic of Altal, 649490, Russia

Keywords: Altai Mountains, Geopark, KAtunskiy Biosphere Reserve

The Altai Mountains- a global watershed of Asia- cover parts of four countries- Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. Within its Russian part UNESCO World Heritage Site "The Golden Mountains of Altai" is situated. Different tectonic structures and geological history has led to the formation of a large diversity of geological complexes and types of relief: from flat intermountain hollows (800-1000m above sea level) to high mountain ridges (up to 4500m).

Protected areas (PAs) cover more than 25% of this region. There are 2 federal strict PAs, 9 regional nature parks and reserves, more than 100 monuments of nature. Katunskiy Biosphere Reserve (BP) is located within the most elevates part of the Altai. Quaternary glacial complexes and fragments of secondary peneplains represent clear evidence of geological history.

Katunskiy BR fulfils following activities: nature conservation, monitoring and thematic researches, and support of sustainable development. Among others, the last direction includes ecological education of local people, development of ecotourism with active participation of local communities, organization of summer schools and scientific tourism with the foci on natural sciences and sustainable development of this mountain region.

Katunskiy BR participates in the UNESCO-MRI Initiative "Global Change Research in Mountain Regions". Now we prepare the nomination of Katunskiy BR to the Global Network of National Geoparks.

In the paper the geological heritage of the Altai Mountains and its relation to the system of protected areas will be discussed. Special attention will be paid to Katunskiy BR, its nature, and scientific and educational activities as potential nomination to Geoparks network.