Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve

Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve

Total area of Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve's territory is 1,631,940 ha. The main core zone occupies 126,432 ha, buffer zone – 855,508 ha, development zone – about 650,000 ha. The main and buffer zones correspond to the territory of Katon-Karagay state national nature park.

The main zone of biosphere reserve is strictly protected zone of nature reserve regime of Katon-Karagay state nature national park, which represents natural mountain complex of Western Altai. Article 44 of Chapter 8 of the Law of RK «About specially protected national territories» gives clear definition of national nature park: «state national nature park is a specially protected natural territory with the status of nature protective and scientific institution, dedicated for conservation of biological and landscape diversity, use in nature protection, ecologic-educational, scientific, tourist and recreational goals of unique natural complexes and objects of state nature reserve fund, which have special ecological, scientific, historic-cultural and recreational value». According to Article 45 paragraph 2 of the same Law: «within the reservation conditions zone of the state wildlife reserve any economic and recreational activities shall be prohibited under the reservation conditions established, which shall be corresponding to the protection regime of the state wilderness area».
Katon-Karagay state nature national partk corresponds with the highest category (A1) of natural territories of IUCN. Area of the core biosphere reserve's zone is 126,432 ha, which represents 2 very large and 5 small parts. Altitudinal limits of biosphere reserve in the main part vary from 2000 to 4506 m (Belukha mountain).

According to Article 45 (paragraph 1) of the Law of RK «About SPNA» the buffer zone of Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve are 3 zones of Katon-Karagay state national park: a) ecological stabilization zone; b) zone of tourism and recreational activity; c) zone of limited economic activity, as well as specially established protective zone of the reserve, which includes 2-3 km stripe along national park’s perimeter.

According to Article 45 (paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 6), asnd Article 46-48 of this Law:

«3. Within the ecological stabilization zone the reservation regime shall be established, prohibiting economic and recreational activities except regulated ecological tourism and arrangements for the restoration of damaged natural complexes and objects of the state natural-preserved fund.
4. The tourism and recreational activity zone shall be classed as ones for regulated short- and long-term resting of visitors of the national natural park. Within the tourism and recreational activity zone the protection regime shall be established, ensuring preservation of the natural complexes and objects of the state natural-preserved fund, where regulated use for the purposes of tourism and recreation (except hunting) shall be allowed, including arranging for tourist routes, trails, bivouacs, and viewing points, taking into account the recreational load rates.
5. Within the limited economic activity zone administrative facilities shall be located, economic activities which are necessary for ensuring protection and operation of the national natural park, visitors servicing, including arrangement of amateur (sport) hunt and fishing shall be run along with construction and operation of recreation centers, hotels, camping sites, museums and other service objects.
6. Protection and restoration arrangements shall be implemented within the national park area as per the management plan thereof.”
Protective zone is created to protect from unfavourable influence from around specially protected natural territories, with prohibition in the limits of these zone of any activity, negatively influencing the condition and restoration of ecosystems of the given territory.
There are lands not withdrawn from the main land users on the buffer zone of biosphere reserve's territory, they consist of agricultural use lands and are under administration of agricultural organizations and private land users. Economic activity on separate parts of the protective zone (haymaking, cattle pasture) is carried out by agreement with state authority (Forestry and Hunting Committee under the Ministry of Environmental Protection of RK) and under control of the administration of state nature national park. Buffer zone's area is 855,508 ha.

Transition zone (zone of development, collaboration) of Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve is located on the territory of Katon-Karagay administrative district of Eastern Kazakhstan oblast. Total land area of the transition zone is about 650,000 ha.

Highways to Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve are: 1) from Western, Kazakhstan side – highway of republican importance Ust-Kamenogorsk – Bolshenarymskoye village – Katon-Karagay village – Uryl village – Rakhmanovskiy Klyuchi village. This road has a good asphalt cover up to Uryl village. Then it is followed by gravel surface. The same road connects nearest railroad station Zubovka (Zyryanovsk town) and local airport in Katon-Karagay village. Distance from Ust-Kamenogorsk to Uryl village is 417 km; from Uryl village to Rakhmanovskiy Klyuchi resort – 45 km. 2) roads of oblast importance include Katon-Karagay – Korobikha road – 45 km; Pechi – Beloye – 24 km.

Transition zone of biosphere reserve comprises lands of 7 rural districts:

Aksu rural district: villages Aksu, Verkh-Katun, Fykalka, Chalovka;
Zhambyl rural district: villages Zhambyl, Rakhmanovskiye Klyuchi, Karaayryk, Shubaragash, Berel, Maraldy;
Belkaragay rural district: villages Belkaragay, Topkayik, Ornek, Sogornoye;
Katon-Karagay rural district: villages Katon-Karagay, Moyildy, Zhanaulgo, Shyngystay, Kabyrga;
Korobikhinskiy rural district: villages Korobikha, Pechi, Cheremoshka;
Urylskiy rural district: villages Uryl, Arshaty, Yenbek;

Chernovinskiy rural district: villages Chernovaya, Akmaral, Kyzylzhuldyz, Kayindi.

Administrative center of biosphere reserve is located in Katon-Karagay village, founded in the end of 18th century. Modern demographic situation is evaluated to be stable.

All three zones are connected and complement each other. The core zone is closed for visits and represents reference areas of regional natural complexes, as well as important genetic reserve of wild flora and fauna species; this zone is a control in long-term monitoring.
The buffer zone is also under protective regime, but limited human activity is allowed taking into account conservation and restoration of objects of state nature-reserv fund and by corresponding agreement with state authorities. Tourist and recreational activities in this zone are carried out by state national nature park or physical and legal bodies if they have license to undertake tour operator activity. Physical and legal bodies are responsible for keeping the site in the condition to provide conservation of state nature reserve fund's objects, and comply with the environmental protection requirements.

Both zones serve for conservation of natural complexes and partially for sustainable development.

The transition zone is allows main types of traditional economica activity of land users, providing stable use of nature resources, but prohibiting or limiting types of nature use and economic activity, negatively influencing ecological systems. Limitation of economic activity of land plots owners and land users in the protective zone state national nature park are established by the resolutions of local authorities of oblast, cities of Republican importance, capitals in accordance with the present Law. This zone is used for living by local population, for development of economy, culture and education and provides function of stable development of the territory.

As a whole, this zoning provides conditions for elimination of the conflict between social-economic development and protection of wild natural complexes and gives an opportunity for stable development of economy and culture.

For organization of partner relations a special Coordinational Council of Katon-Karagay biosphere reserve was created; its participants include representatives of state nature reserve, nature users, local authorities and public organizations.

Supported by two UNDP/GEF projects (Conservation of biodiversity of Sayan-Altai region), state nature reserve staff was sent to exchange experience and for training to Korgalzhyn Biosphere Reserve, Karatau Nature Reserve (Kazakhstan), Berezinskiy Nature Reserve (Belarus), «Zapovedniki» ecological center (Moscow, Russia), and to scientific-practical conferences in Kazakhstan and abroad (Minsk, Belarus). In 2005-2012 training seminars were conducted dedicated to management plan preparation, biodiversity monitoring, state inspectors were trained in drawing up reports, complying with safety operating procedures and fire prevention.

Local communities are involved in the biosphere reserve's management through the Coordinational Council of Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve, created in 2012 and consisting of state agencies (territorial management of forestry and hunting), nature reserve, Akimats, local NGOs and land users. This management body is also important for collaboration and to overcome the contradictions between all stakeholders, as well as for development of scientifically based sustainable nature use.

During the GEF Project a group of sociologists carried out research of social-economic situation in rural settlements of the proposed reserve. A review was compiled, providing an assessment of modern social-economic situation in the region’s demography and migration, agriculture and social infrastructure, and giving proposals for territory’s zoning, sustainable economic development zone, territory’s development perspectives. Besides, every year local Akimat staff collects data on social-economic development with further submission to automated data base.

According to Kazakhstan's legislation, management of economic activity on some parts of biosphere reserve's buffer zone (haymaking, cattle pasture) is carried out by agreement with state authority (Forestry and Hunting Committee under the Ministry of Agriculture of RK) and under control of state nature reserve's administration, all questions and arising problems are settled at the meetings of Coordinational Council of biosphere reserve. All activities on the lands of the protected zone and establishment of 2-3-km protective zone were negotiated with all land users in the course of preparation of the Resolution of Akim of Katon-Karagay district of Eastern Kazakhstan oblast. Private lands of the buffer zone were not withdrawn from the land users.


At the present time there is a Management Plan of Katon-Karagay State Nature National Park, which describes management of the core and buffer zones of Biosphere Reserve. The land users have their own management plans, which are in accordance with Management Plan of national nature park. So, simple combination of all these plans is in fact Overall Integrated Management Plan of the whole territory of Biosphere Reserve. All controversial issues are discussed at the sessions of Coordinational Council of Biosphere Reserve.

The biosphere reserve is managed through Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve Coordinational Council created in 2012. Before that the territory of the core and buffer zone was managed through Scientific-Technical Council of national park (up to September 2012). Coordinational Council is a collegial public body created to introduce policies of effective management and sustainable use of biosphere reserve's resources, alternative activities, resource-conserving and resource-restoring technologies. The Coordinational Council of biosphere reserve consists of representatives of state agencies (territorial agency of forestry and hunting, oblast territorial agency of fishery), state nature reserve, Akimats (department of land resources, agriculture, etc.), local NGOs and land users, and is necessary in providing collaboration and problem-solving opportunities for all stakeholders.

There is a current monitoring of the condition and conservation of natural complexes on the territory of biosphere reserve, and monitoring of rare and threatened species to clarify the condition of the populations, ecological peculiarities of rare plant and animal species, providing a basis for evaluation of the species’ conservation and restoration perspectives. The goal of the monitoring is to obtain regular objective data about the condition of plants and animals on the territory of biosphere reserve, as well as on the condition of their habitat. Based on monitoring data it is necessary to conduct current evaluation of the condition of populations and ecosystems, biosphere reserve’s functioning effectiveness, and development of measures for critical and unfavourable situations’ prevention. In the limits of monitoring there is an ongoing research for the Nature Chronicles, as well as counts of mammal, bird and invertebrate animal populations. According to the Management Plan, in the present time there is an ongoing inventarization and research of the objects of state nature reserve fund, as well as research of natural processes and ecological monitoring. These scientific works include observations of phenomena and processes for Nature Chronicles programme, flora and vegetation inventarization, research of raer and endangered vertebrate and invertebrate animals, biodiversity condition monitoring and indicator species populations’ condition.

With the support from UNDP/GEF Project (Conservation of biodiversity of Sayan-Altai region) staff members of state nature reserve had a chance to raise their qualifications and exchange experience in different specially protected natural territories of Kazakhstan and abroad. Also different educational seminars were held for Reserve's staff concerning a variety of topics: management plant development, biodiversity monitoring, etc.

Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve is situated in the upper part of Bukhtarma, Belaya Berel and Chyornaya Berel rivers, including Southern slopes of Listvyaga and Katunskiy ridges (with Eastern top of Belukha mountain), ridges of Bukhtarma river's left bank: Sarymsakty, Tarbagatay (Southern Altai part) and Southern Altai. Northern part includes a part of Katunskiy ridge and has altitudes from 2000 to 4506 m (Belukha mountain). Southern part – from 850 m (Bukhtarma river valley) to 3487 m (Southern Altai ridge).

ltitudes near Belukha town reach 2500-3000 m. Relief is of alpine type: with very expressed valleys, steep rocky slopes, moraines. The same relief character is observed in the Eastern part of Southern Altai ridge. The rest of reserve’s territory, including Sarymsakty, Tarbagatay and Listvyaga ridges, has mainly flat character of mountain relief. The territory of biosphere reserve has very expressed vertical zoning.

Highland nival zone – vegetation groups grow on mielkozem. Vegetation cover is formed by plants of periglacial complex (Omalotheca supina, Pyrethrum pulchrum, Vaccinium, Primula nivalis, Eriophorum humile, Ranunculus altaicus, etc.). In subnival zone there are two very distinct vegetation types – rocks and rocky alluvials. In the rocks the following shrubs – Berberis sibirica, Ribes nigrum and R. fragrans  – are registered. Herbaceous plant's composition is quite diverse. Rocky alluvials and overgrowing screes are inhabited by shrubs: Lonicera altaica, Juniperus pseudosabina, Salix myrsinites, and herbaceous plants are represented by Pyrethrum alatavicum, P. krylovianum, Thermopsis alpina, Lupinaster eximius and etc.

Highland tundra – meadow zone. The main role in rocky or pebbles – lichen tundra is played by lichens of genera Cetraria, Cladonia, Parmelia, Peltigera, Stereocaulon. Higher flowering plant vegetation is very diverse, with domination of Kobresia myosuroides and K. smirnovii, and co-domination of Carex spp. and Helictotrichon mongolicum. In the limits of park's territory one may observe formations of herbaceous tundra: edificator of Carex – cereal tundra is Hedysarum austrosibiricum, Thermopsis alpina, Gentiana algida and other plants. Edificator of Kobresia wasteland meadows most often is Kobresia myosuroides. Edificator of tundra is Dryas oxyodonta.

Mountain-meadow alpine zone consists of probably about 100-120 flora species. Dominating species are brightly flowering plants, giving those bright colors to the meadows.

Mountain-forest zone -  the territory of the park in the region rich in forest resources. The forests here are inconsiderably changed by economic activity and don't lose a lot from forest fires. According to the data of state forest fund account, the area covered by forest is 216,184 ha. Almost 80% is occupied by coniferous forests, 19% - by shrubs and only a little more than 1% is occupied by deciduous forests. The main forest-forming species are larch, cedar and spruce.

Abundance of meadow herbs and flowers comprises more than 1000 species of higher vascular plants, as well as mosses, lichens and fungi. Flora of Kazakhstan Altai includes 2450 species of 693 genera and 131 families, including: Southern Altai – 2052 species (83.8% of total species number of Kazakhstan Altai) of 608 genera (87.7%) and 116 families (88.5%). Supposedly, there are 1000 plant species on the territory of Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve, belonging to 78 families, 30 of them are listed in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan. The families with most species are Poaceae, Asteraceae, Rosaceae, Ranunculaceae, Fabaceae, Сурeraceae, Caryophyllaceae.

Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve is situated on the territory of Katon-Karagay administrative district of Eastern Kazakhstan oblast in the limits of the following borders: North and East – borders with Russia (Republic of Altai); South-East – borders with People's Republic of China; West – to Belkaragay and Soldatovo villages; South – Northern slopes of Southern Altai ridges: Sarymsakty, Tarbagatai, Narymskiy – border of Muz-Bel forest station of Shyngistay forestry and along administrative border of Katon-Karagay and Kurchum districts to the border with China in the East.

Biosphere Reserve's length from North to South is about 60 km, from West to East about 150 km. Land plots with total area of 515,538 ha, belonging to Berel and Katon-Karagay state institutions for forest and animal world protection, were given for permanent use for organization of core and buffer zones of biosphere reserve. Also additional lant plots with total areas of 127,939 and 268,463 ha were given from reserve lands of Katon-Karagay administrative district of Eastern Kazakhstan oblast.

Biosphere reserve's transition zone includes large settlements, lands of rural districts, cattle roads, transport centers and channels. Central office of biosphere reserve is in Katon-Karagay village, 90 km from district center (Bolshenarymskoye village) and 350 km from oblast center (Ust-Kamenogorsk city).

Highways to Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve:

1) from Western side – highway of republican importance Ust-Kamenogorsk – Bolshenarymskoye village – Katon-Karagay village – Uryl village – Rakhmanovskiy Klyuchi village. This road has a good asphalt cover up to Uryl village. Then it is followed by gravel surface. The same road connects nearest railroad station Zubovka (Zyryanovsk town) and local airport in Katon-Karagay village. Distance from Ust-Kamenogorsk to Uryl village is 417 km; from Uryl village to Rakhmanovskiy Klyuchi resort – 45 km.
2) roads of oblast importance include Katon-Karagay – Korobikha road – 45 km; Pechi – Beloye – 24 km.

Local population, living in the transition zone of biosphere reserve, practices mainly breeding of cattle, sheep, deers, horses and Siberian stags. Plant production is an additional activity and the main plantations are occupied by fodder perennial and annual herbs and cereal fodder cultures (barley, oat) for feeding cows, Siberian stags, horses and sheep in winter period. Private farms are dominating in cattle-breeding sector of the region. The majority of those farms have small numbers of animals – less than 40 sheep. In the structure of land use the largest agricultural territories are located in Belovskiy rural district (39.6%), a little less – in Korobikhinskiy (14.5%) and Belkaragay (12.2%) rural districts, and smallest area of agricultural lands are situated in Urylskiy, Zhambylskiy, Chernovinskiy, Katon-Karagayskiy riral districts (from 7.9 to 9%). In the present time there are 881 registered and active agricultural formations on the territory of biosphere reserve. Organization of UNESCO biosphere reserve will stimulate development of promising sectors of the local economy – ecological and health tourism, attracting both Kazakhstan and foreign tourists. Now there are several health – spa complexes based on Siberian stag farms on the territory of biosphere reserve, but their potential is not developed yet.

Currently the main scientific – technical support of the biosphere reserve's territory is carried out by the staff of Katon-Karagay state nature national park. In the frames of GEF/UNDP international project «Conservation of Altai's biodiversity» (2005-2011) a part of equipment was donated (2 cars, computers and other office appliences, equipment for water quality control, photo cameras, video camera, echo sounder, binoculars, telescopes, GPS, etc.). In the frames of planned work different training seminars were conducted, dedicated to management plan preparation, biodiversity monitoring, state inspectors were trained in drawing up reports, complying with safety operating procedures and fire prevention, trips for experience exchange were organized to Korgalzhyn biosphere reserve, Karatau nature reserve (Kazakhstan), Berezinskiy nature reserve (Belorussia), and to scientific-practical conferences inside Kazakhstan (Almaty, Astana) and abroad (Moscow, Russia and Minsk, Belorussia). Since the national park was established there is Nature Museum, which occupies several exposition halls with numerous dioramas and museum exhibits. Every year there are numerous ecological festivals, exhibitions and educational trainings, every 2 years there are cultural-ethnographic festivals of Turkic-speaking countries in the limits of TURKSOY international organizaiton's activity.

The territory of biosphere reserve in the upper part of Bukhtarma, Belaya and Chyornaya Berel rivers, including Southern slopes of Listvyaga and Katunskiy (with Eastern top of Belukha mountain), ridges of left bank of Bukhtarma river: Sarymsakty, Tarbagatay (Southern Altai part) and Southern Altai. Northern part, including part of Katunskiy ridge, has altitudes from 2000 to 4506 m (Belukha mountain). Southern part – from 850 m (Bukhtarma river valley), to 3487 m (Southern Altai ridge). Relative altitudes in the area of Belukha mountain are 2500-3000 m.

There are four main altitudinal zones on the territory of biosphere reserve, which include all characteristic landscapes of the region:

  1. nival zone:
    • subnival belt
  2. tundra - meadow:
    • mountain-tundra
    • mountain-meadow-alpine
    • mountain-meadow-subalpine
  3. mountain-forest:
    mountain-forest subalpine
    mountain-forest taiga
  4. mountain-forest-meadow-steppe.

Highland nival zone provides magnificent landscape with mountain ridges of contrasting white ice and snow tops and deep canyons, partitioned by mountain rivers. The lower border of this zone lies at the altitude of 2800 m above sea level, vegetation inhabits mielkozem which is accumulated in the cracks of the rocks and between the rocks of alluvial deposits, and also in the depressions of the slopes along the ice and snow tops. This zone is characterized by fragmental vegetation associations, represented by lichens and highland herbaceous plant species: Primula nivalis, Macropodium nivale, Eriophorum humile, Ranunculus altaicus. The subnival zone is represented by Berberis sibirica, Ribes nigrum and R. fragrans, Lonicera altaica, Juniperus pseudosabina,in the rocks, and by herbaceous plants: Bergenia crassifolia, Saxifraga sibirica, Potentilla nivea, Patrinia sibirica, Aquilegia glandulosa and other plants.

Mountain-tundra zone. Its upper border lies at the altitude of 2800 m above sea level, and lower is 2100 m above sea level. Upper layer is occupied by rocky, moss – lichen, shrub and herbaceous tundra with mosses, Poa altaica, Gentiana algida and shrubs – Betula rotundifolia, Lonicare hispida, Spiraea and dwarf forms of willows.

Mountain-forest zone is situated in the vertical range of 1200-1250 m to 2200-2300 m above sea level. It includes 2 zones: mountain-forest subalpine, occupying upper position, and mountain meadow-taiga, located in its lower half. There are main forest-forming species in the limits of this zone: Siberian pine, larch, spruce. Smaller area is occupied by forests of fir, birch, poplar, aspen and willows. Herbaceous cover is formed by cereals, sedge, blueberries and motley grass.

Mountain-meadow-steppe zone is characterized by sparse spruce and mixed (birch – spruce – aspen) forests with cereal – motley grass herbs and shrubs. Under the trees and on the meadows there are shrubs: Sambucus sibirica, Spiraea media, Caragana arborescens, Rosa acicularis. Most common cereals include Campanula glomerata, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Calamagrostis spp. Motley grass is represented by Iris ruthenica, Origanum vulgare, Bupleurum longifolium, Galium boreale and other species.

The main pressure on the ecosystems from local population is observed in mountain forest-meadow-steppe zone, where there are settlements, roads, pastures and hayfields. The main tourist and health-spa bases are also situated here.

Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve represents extremely important natural complex for conservation of South-Western Altai biodiversity. Plant life forms are represented by arboraceous, semi-arboraceous, herbaceous vegetation.

Field research on the territory of biosphere reserve registered 56 species of tree-shrub flora of 28 genera and 13 families, which is 5.4% of species composition of Southern Altai flora. Total area of reserve's forest fund is 267,202 ha. Forests are mostly mixed, composition of herbaceous and moss layers is often conserved when dominating tree species change. There are 40 forest types, recorded for the territory of national park, with domination of cedar (20.3%) and larch (21.4%) forest type plantations. Considerable area is occupied by shrub forest type – subalpine dwarf birch (37.7%). Among pine forests dominating forest type is herbal cedar (7.3%), which occupies medium and lower parts of mountain slopes at the altitudes of 1500-1700 m above sea level. In the dense undergrowth there is mostly currant and honeysuckle. Herbaceous cover is dense – Calamagrostis, Carex, Aconitum, Equisetum. Dominating forest type among spruces is cereal – motley grass spruces – 12%, which inhabits flat, often medium sloped mountain slopes at the altitudes of 1750-1800 m above sea level, in North-North-East, rarer – in North-West and West. Undergrowth is rare, with separate rose, spirea; herbaceous cover is well developed, with domination of Calamagrostis, Brachypodium and Bromus. Addition of xerophile motley grass - Artemisia, Iris, Rubus - is quite characteristic.

Dominating shrub type is subalpine dwarf birch, distributed at the altitudes of 2000-2300 m above sea level on different relief forms: from rocky flat ridges to flat and depressed slope parts. Dwarf birch tundra is distributed in all mountain ridges. Semi-arboraceous forms (semi-dwarf-shrubs) include almost all Artemisia, many species of Chenopodiaceae and other plants. Herbaceous form, or grass, is the most numerous group, with domination of perennial herbs, mainly xerophytes.

There are 30 species of rare and endangered plants on the territory of Katon-Karagay Biosphere Reserve: Cladonia rangiferina (L.) Harm., Diphasiastrum alpinum (L.) Holub, Huperzia selago (L.) Bernh ex Schrank et Mart., Adonis vernalis L., Allium pumilum Vved. in Bull. Univer. As. Centr., Astragalus glycyphullusL., Cyprepedium calceolus L., Cyprepedium macranthon Sw., Cymbaria daurica L., Dactylorhisa fuchsii (Druce) Soo, Daphne altaica Pall., Drosera rotundifolia L., Erythronium sibiricum (Fisch. et Mey.) Kryl., Epipogium aphyllum (F.W. Schmidt) Sw., Gymnospermium altaicum (Pall.) Spach., Lilium martagon L., Macropodium nivale (Pall.) R. Br., Orchis militaris L., Oxycoccus microcarpus Turcz., Paeonia anomala L., Paeonia hybrida Pall., Paris quadrifolia L., Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill., Rhaponticum carthamoides (Willd.) Iljin, Rheum altaicum Losinsk., Rhodiola rosea L., Sanicula europaea L.,  Sibiraea altaiensis L., Stipa pennata L., Tulipa heteropetalaL.

Short characteristics of most valuable rare plant species with very important role in flora genetic diversity conservation and practical importance are given below.

Diphasiastrum alpinum (L.) Holub – Alpine Clubmoss. Status – rare species with decreasing population. Is recorded only in highlands of Altai and Saur. Area – tundra zone and high mountains of Eurasia and Northern America. Evergreen creeping perennial plant. Reproduces by spores, and the period from spore production to new adult plant is not less than 5 years.
Huperzia selago (L.) Bernh ex Schrank et Mart. – Fir Clubmoss. Status – very rare species. Is recorded only in the mountains of Altai, Dzhungarian Alatau and in one area of Kazakh melkosopochnik (Borovoye). Inhabits moist rocks with moss, among rocky alluvial deposits and in rocky tundra of highlands, rarer – in the upper part of forest zone. Herbaceous evergreen perennial plant, reproduces by spores and with brood buds, located in in the axils of the upper leaves.
Allium pumilum Vved. in Bull. Univer. As. Centr. Status – rare, endemic species of Altai. In the limits of Kazakhstan it is known in the limits of four sites: two of them are in Western Altai (Ivanovskiy ridge). One is on Ulbinskiy ridge (Chyornyi Uzel) and in Southern Altai (upper part of Bukhtarma river). Inhabits highland cryophyte and petrophyte steppe and tundra associations.
Adonis vernalis L. -  Pheasant's Eye. Status – rare species. Is recorded only in North and North-East of the Republic – from Altai and Tarbagatai, although it is more widely distributed in Europe and Southern Siberia. Herbaceous spring-blooming perennial plant. It does not require specific soils, prefers areas with a lot of sunshine, life length of one specimen reaches 60 years.
Cyprepediummacranthon Sw. – Lady's Slipper Orchid. Status – rare species with decreasing area. Is recorded sporadically, in small groups in Northern Kazakhstan and in Altai. Large rhizomatous orchid, inhabiting spruce, rarer pine and mixed forests, meadows and moist meadows. Reproduces by seeds, restoration is weak.
Dactylorhisa fuchsii (Druce) Soo – Common Spotted Orchid. Status – rare species. Is registered by isolated populations in Northern regions of Kazakhstan and Altai (from Southern to Western Altai). Grows in Northern willow, birch, aspen and mixed forests, on meadows, along river and stream banks. Reproduces by seeds, provides self-sowing on damp meadows with abundant cover of mosses.
Daphne altaica Pall. Statis – rare, almost endemic, relict species. Is observed in the mountains of Altai, Tarbagatai, Manrak and  Saur. Grows in shrub steppes on rocky slopes from foothills to midlands. Relict of tertiary forest (subtropic) flora of turgai type. Decorative shrub with fragrant white tubular flowers. Reproduces by seeds and vegetatively – by root stocks.
Erythronium sibiricum (Fisch. et Mey.) Kryl. Siberian Trout Lily. Status – rare species with decreasing area. Is observed only in the mountains of Southern and Western Altai. Grows on meadows of coniferous forests, on meadow slopes, among shrubs, sometimes even in highland tundra. Early blooming bulbous perennial plant.
Gymnospermium altaicum (Pall.) Spach. Status – rare, partly disappearing species. Is distributed from Western Altai through Tarbagatai and Dzhungarian Alatau to Zailiyskiy Alatau and Chu-Ili mountains. Is observed sporadically by separate, sometimes quite large populations in apple and fir forests, in shrub thickets from foothills to highlands. An early flowering bulbous perennial plant
Lilium martagon L. – Martagon. Status – rare species with decreasing population. Is recorded in mountains of Altai, Tarbagatai and on the Northern slope of Dzhungarian Alatau. Grows on grass moist meadows, in fields among birch, aspen, spruce and cedar forests.
Macropodium nivale (Pall.) R. Br. Status – rare, relict species. Is observed in the upper mountian zones of Altai, Saur and Tarbagatai. Grows on rocky slopes near snow, along river and stream banks, on alpine meadows. Ancient species, is characterized by some primitive features of flower structure.
Paeonia anomala L. Status – rare species with decreasing population. Is registered in a narrow stripe in Irtysh river valley and in Altai. Grows in deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests, in meadows and meadow slopes of foothills and mountains. Is characterized by big sizes, almost uniformly thickened roots and numerous stems.
Paeonia hybrida Pall. – Hybrid Peony. Status – almost endemic species with decreasing area. Is observed in mountains of Altai, Tarbagatai, Saur, on Northern slope of Dzhungarian Alatau, as well as in adjacent part of Eastern melkosopochnik. Grows on open pebbles and rocky steppe slopes, among shrubs from foothills to midland mountain zone. Is characterized by clear round tuberous thickened roots, low height and purplish or bright pink color of the flower.
Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill. Prairie crocus. Status – species with decreasing population. Is distributed almost in all Northern half of the Republic, including mountains of Altai and Tarbagatai. Grows in dry steppes, on dry meadows, in sparse pine forests and on the meadows, dry slopes, often on sandy and clay soils.
Rhaponticum carthamoides (Willd.) Iljin. – Maral Root. Status – species with decreasing population. Is registered in mountains of Altai, Tarbagatai and Dzhungarian Alatau (Northern slope). Powerful rhizomatous perennial plant (more than a meter in height), most often grows on subalpine meadows, in sparse forests and in forest meadows, rarely going up to alpine tundra.
Rhodiola rosea L. – Golden Root. Status – valuable species with harshly decreasing population. Is recorded only in mountain regions of Altai, Saur, Tarbagatai and Dzhungarian Alatau. Grows on moist soils along river banks, in thickets of mountain pines and dwarf birches, on meadow parts at the upper limit of the forest, in the rocks and rocky slopes, sometimes in rocky tundra.
Rheum altaicum Losinsk. – Altai Rhubarb. Status – rare species with decreasing area. Is observed in mountains of Altai, Tarbagatai and Saur. Grows on pebbles and rocky dry slopes, sometimes in meadows and among shrubs in the upprt mountain zone.
Sibiraea altaiensis L. Status – rare species with decreasing population. Endemic of Altai, its distribution goes out of Altai limits inconsiderably. Relict of tertiary deciduous forests. Blooms in May-June, fruits in July-August. Its leaves are sometimes used as substitute for tea, in traditional medicine for curing fever, liver diseases (hepatitis) and cardivascular system diseases. It is an effective decorative plant, grows well in the culture from seeds. It is very attractive not only during blooming, but also in autumn, when leaves are brightly red colored.
Stipa pennata L. – Feather Grass. Status – species with decreasing population and area. Is widely distributed in all steppe zone – from Western borders to Altai mountains. Grows in steppe, in forest meadows and dry mountain slopes. Prefers light sandy soils, rarely observed on clay sands. Is characterized by narrow leaves and long (20-40 cm) feather awns.
Tulipa heteropetala L. Status – rare species. Is recorded in the mountains of Altai and Tarbagatai. Grows on steppe and semi-desert, often rocky slopes from foothills to highlands. Populations are isolates, usually sites occupy several tens of square meters. Density sometimes reaches 10-33 generative specimens in one square meter.
Animal world of biosphere reserve is very interesting because it combines fauna species of European complex, which inhabited this region after the ice went from the West, with animals of taiga complex, which came from the East. Mammals are represented by 69 species, including insectivores – shrews; bats – Ikonnikov's Bat; predators - Lynx, Roe Deer, Marmot, Squirrel, Fox, Wolf, Stoat, Sable, Mink, Otter; rodents - Squirrel, Marmot; ungulates - Maral, Elk, Roe Deer, Musk Deer. Red Data Book lists 4 species. Ornithofauna includes 277 species of birds, including 20 species listed in the Red Data Book. Reptiles comprise 6 species, amphibians – 3 species, fish – 8 species, one of which is listed in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan.

Potential of the region is connected, first of all, to the development of ecologic-recreational tourism, as well as with cattle breeding and plant growing. In regional scale the experience of ecologic-recreational tourism development on the territory of biosphere reserve may be successfully used in other parts of Kazakhstan, as well as in adjacent Altai territories of Russia, China and Mongolia. In the present time tourist services are dynamically developing on the territory of biosphere reserve (settlements in collaboration zone). This is mainly caused by development of small and medium business of additional services for the tourists from local people (organization of guest houses and small hotels and tourist bases, horse riding, etc.), and selling local produce grown at home, and local souvenirs. The most perspective tourism types include: acquaintance, education, recreational, ornithological (birdwatchers), botanical, photographic, scientific and ethnographic tourism.