Leningrad region is one of the most interesting regions from geomorphological, zoological and floristic points of view. The combination of various forestlands, of highland and lowland swamps, wide water spaces and coastlines determine species richness of animal and plants world and the variety of natural complexes. There is one of the main line of flyway along which annually a million of birds travel in spring and autumn. On the shallow waters of the Gulf of Finland, Ladoga and numerable lakes there are traditional spots of their stops. In the region you can meet rare species of plants and animals - lady's slipper, European pasqueflower, fish-hawk, Ladoga seal and others; interesting geological and hydrological objects – outcrops, mountains, caves, starved ranges, glacial lakes. Its landscapes are also various – starved valleys, canyons of rivers, plains with hilly uplands, skerries of the Gulf of Viborg and north Ladoga.
Climate of the region is Atlantic-continental. Marine air masses determine relatively mild winter with frequent thaws and gently warm, sometimes cool summer. Average temperature of January is−8...−11 °C , of July is+16...+18 °C . Absolute temperature maximum +36 °C, absolute temperature minimum is −52°C. East parts are the coldest and south-west parts are the warmest ones.
Annual rainfall is 600-700 mm. Maximum rainfall is in the highlands, maximum – Lembolovskaya highland. Minimum rainfall is in the coastline lowlands. Most rainfall is in summer and in autumn.
During winter period rainfall is in the form of snow. Constant blanket of snow appears in the second half of November – first half of December. Snow disappears in the second half of April.
The territory of the region with the exception of small south-east part, belongs to the basin of Baltic sea and has a thick, well-developed river network. Total length of all the rivers in Leningrad region is about 50 thousand km. There are 1800 lakes, including Ladozhskoe – the largest in Europe, in the region as well. A significant part of the region is swamped.
The Oredezh river— a tributary of the Luga
|Name of the river||Length (km)||Area of the basin (km²)|
Lake Ladozhskoe near the Konevets island
|Name of the lake||Area (km²)||The greatest depth (m)|
The basic kind of soils in the region are podzolic soils, poor in humus and remarkable for significant acidity. At that on loams, in low areas with high wetness, mainly in spruce forests, appear high-podzolic soils with a powerful upper stratum. In higher places, less appropriate for wetness, appear middle-podzolic soils. There, where grass takes majority, - on glades, in sparse mixed and deciduous forests - sod-podzol soils appeared.
In the territory of Izhorskaya highland, on rocks containing lime that neutralize acidity and protects upper stratum of soil from ablation, sod-calcareous soil appeared. They are the best among regional soils: they are richer others in humus and minerals, have well-defined cloddy structure. They are also named “north chernozem”.
In lowlands and on plain spots of earth if there is a bad flow (bad drainage) of atmosphere waters that causes their stagnation on surface, and sometimes if there is a high level of stagnation of subterranean waters, peaty and swampy soils appear. They are spread in the central part of the region, in the east of Karelian Isthmus, on the coastline of the Gulf of Finland and in Priladozhie.
In some places on meadow terraces (on the Volkhov, the Luga and other rivers) that are flooded during high water, alluvial soils that are rich in humus appear of river drifts. Their area is not great.
The main soil-forming rocks are loam, loamy soil, sands and peat. Agricultural use of soils demands its artificial improvement.
The territory of the region is situated in the zone of taiga, if specify, in its middle and south zones. There is a transfer from coniferous forests to mixed ones in the south of the region. Forests occupy 55,5% of regional territory. Wood resources are significantly used up. Native piny and especially firry forests are partly kept in the north-west and east of the region, but they are mainly substitute for inferior and underproductive small-leaved forests and low forests (birch, asp, and white alder). Territories adjoining to Saint-Petersburg are occupied by agriculture (tillage, meadows, and bushes).
There are medical plants and berries growing in the regional forests: lily-of-the-valley, bearberry, bilberry, red bilberries, cranberries, raspberries, wild rosemary, juniper, immortelle and five-finger.
In the region there are mainly wood animals, among which there are 68 species of mammals. Basic of them are squirrel, polecat, marten, mole, mountain hare, European (brown) hare, various gnawing animals (field mouse, wood mouse, rats and others). Wolf, wild boar, roe, fox, elk, bear, lynx, weasel, otter, deer, musquash, seal, beaver, seal, marshotter and racoon dog are more seldom.
There about 300 species of birds in the region; the main of them are capercailye, ptarmigan, willow grouse, hazel grouse, black grouse, wild-goose, and sandpiper. Some wood birds (woodpecker, thrush, titmouse, cuckoo, starling and flycatcher) are useful for the destruction of harmful insects. Only raven, sparrow, titmouse, bullfinch and woodpecker spend winter in the region; the majority leaves the region starting form the end of august.
There are about 80 breeds of fish in the waters of the region. From marine fish there is sprat, Baltic sprat, cod and ling. From migratory fish there is smelt, salmon, bulltrout and eel. Among freshwater fish white-fish has the greatest meaning, perch, pike perch, bream, roach and whitebait can be also met. In the Red book there are: Baltic ringed seal, Ladoga seal, grey seal, serpent eagle, golden eagle, peregrine, osprey and erne.
In the territory of the region were established and work:
- 2 state nature reserves: Ingermanlandskiy, Nizhnesvirovskiy
- 1 federal complex reserve: Mshinskoe swamp
- 12 regional complex reserves: Beliy Kamen’, Berezovye ostrova, Veppskiy forest, Viborgskiy, Gladyshevskiy, Vyaryamyansel’kia range, Oak forests near Vel’kota village, Kotel’skiy, Lisinskiy, Rakovie lakes, Syaberskiy, Clean moss
- 4 regional hydrological reserves: Lammin-Suo Swamp, Ozernoe swamp, Glebovskoe swamp, North of Mshinskoe swamp
- 3 regional botanical reserves: Gostilitskiy, Lindulovskaya grove,Rakhitinskiy
- 1 regional ornithological reserve: Melkovodnoe lake
- 2 regional landscape reserves: Cheremenetskiy, Shalovo-Perechitskiy
- 16 complex nature monuments: Babinskoe swamp with adjoining uplands on swamp body “Sokoliy moss”, Swamp body “Smooth moss” and the valley of the Shariya river, Hontovoe swamp, Sources of the Oredezh river in the track “Dontso”, Canyon of the Lava river, Kokorevskiy,Lazarevskoe swamp, Nizinnoe swamp to the west of the village Berezniak,lake Kazian, lake Yastrebinoe,lake Pozhupinskoe with adjoining uplands, the Ragusha river, Sablinskiy, Piny forests near Budugush village, Staroladozhskiy, Upland islands on swamp body “Fox moss”
- 7 geological nature monuments: Geological outcrops of Devonian and Ordovician rocks on the Saba river, : Geological outcrops of Devonian on the Oredezh river and near Yam-Tesovo village, Geological outcrops of Devonian and gallery on the Oredezh river near Borschovo village (lake Antonovo), Outcrop of Devonian on the Oredezh river near Belogorka village, Gustoy island, Pugaevskiy, Scheleiki
- 2 geological and hydrological nature monuments: lake Krasnoe, Radon sources and lakes in Lopukhina village
- 1 regional dendrological park: Otradnoeе
- 1 regional natural park: Veppskiy forest
In 1999 “Red Book of Leningrad region nature” was published. First volume was devoted to protected areas, the second one – to plants and mushrooms, the third one – to animals.