The Kostomukshsky nature reserve is located 25 kilometers to the west from Kostomuksha, the standard natural zone of northern European taiga. Its center is in the town of Kostomuksha. Kostomukshsky nature reserve was founded in 1983. Its total area is 47569 hectares, its protection belt makes 500 meters. Since 1990, the Kostomukshsky nature reserve has been part of the Russian-Finnish Nature Reserve Friendship (Druzhba) along with five Finnish nature reserves.
The Kostomukshsky nature reserve includes territories little affected by human activity. Virgin coniferous forest which covers more than 50% of the area of the Kostomukshsky nature reserve is of the greatest value. Of them 84% are pineries; 16% account for spruce forests, and less than 1% is the share of birch and aspen forests. The forest is low, lighted, with complex age structure. About 20% of the territory is occupied with small (10-50 hectares) bogs often located on slopes and called climbing bogs.
In the Kostomukshsky nature reserve there has been revealed about 400 species of vascular plants, about 140 species of lichens and 159 species of leafy mosses. Quite usual are the following specied of wood: mountain ashes, white alders, junipers, goat willows. Among the low shrubs there are bilberries, cowberries, bog bilberries, marsh tea, common heather, black crowberries, among the herbage there are may lilies, Arctic starflowers, stone brambles. Among the plans included in the Red Book of Russia there are lake and spring quillworts, water lobelias, livid sedges, narrow-leaved marsh orchid or traunstein's dactylorhiza, lichens (tree lungwort and wila).
The fauna is typical for northern taiga: 182 species of birds, 26 species of mammals, 2 species of amphibious, 2 species of reptiles, 16 species of fishes. The group of carnivorous mammals (10 species) is the most large, it includes common martens, stoats, least weasels, American minks, brown bears, gluttons, foxes, and 7 species of rodents: Canadian beavers, squirrels, flying squirrels, muskrats, water voles, bank voles and field voles. Quite usual there are mooses and reindeers, the latter is represented by a rare forest form that is found in a very few place. Avifauna comprises wood and wetland species, including bean geese, whooper swans, common cranes. Among the rare species included in the Red Book of Russia there are white-tailed eagles, fish hawks, and golden eagles. Reservation conditions are very strict. Visits to the Kostomukshsky nature reserve are completely forbidden.
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