The Ussuri National Natural preserve (area 40,431 ha) is located in the
southern part of Maritime Province (Primorye) on the territory of the Ussuri
and Shkotovo Districts on the southern slopes of Przhevalsky Mountains.
The region has no high mountains or rapid rivers. The highest peak (Mt.
Grabovaya) is only 498 m tall. The range boasts a relatively large massif
of virgin liana confer-broad-leaf forests, almost extinct on the territory
of the Russian Far East and adjacent countries.
Initially, the Preserve was organized to preserve forests that had miraculously remained intact from felling and fires.
The flora is almost entirely composed of forest species, the Manchurian floristic complex being prevalent. The forests are formed by cedar pine in combination with all-leaved fir, heart-leafed hornbeam, several hot-loving lianas and representatives of the Aralia family. Ninety-nine percent of the area are occupied by forests, including 868 species of vascular plants, fifteen of them recorded in Red Books of the former USSR and those of Russia, e.g. the genuine ginseng, the densely-flowering pine, etc., 252 species of moss-like plants, 118 lichen species, 1,364 fungi and 210 algae.
Vertebrates are represented by sixty-two mammal species, including such Red Book specimens as the giant shrew, the Amur tiger, the Far Eastern forest cat, the spotted deer, the Himalayan bear and others; by over 160 bird species, among them the Red Book mandarin duck, the black stork, the hawk-like buzzard, the crested honey buzzard, and so on, by seven reptile species, six amphibian species, including the Red Book Ussuri lungless sharp-clawed triton, and by twelve fish and Cyclostomata species. The invertebrate kingdom is equally abundant, including thirty-two species belonging to rare and disappearing ones (the Uvarov grasshopper, the narrow-breasted
ground beetle, etc. The Preserve is the habitat of the relict longhorn beetle, RussiaТs largest beetle species, and also of such large tropical butterflies as the Saturnioidea Artemida, Bramea Tankre the tailed Maaca, and the fresh-water mollusk, the pearl oyster of Primorye.
By and large, the Preserve plays an important part in protecting rare plant and animal species through extensive research, including studies of direct economic significance involving nectariferous, medicinal and fruit-bearing plants.
Ussuri Preserve CordonYu. BERSENEV, Expert, Primorye Territorial Duma.
Slope of Mt. Zmeinaya