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Bolshezemelskaya tundra: natural characteristics

Bolshezemelskaya tundra is a vast (more than 1,5 thousand km 2 ) territory, stretching between the Polar Urals and the rivers Pechora and Usa, adjacent to the Barents Sea. The lands belong to the Nenets Autonomous District and the Komi Republic. This is a severe edge of the cold sea, permafrost and meager fauna and flora, formed during the glacial period, when the boundaries of glaciation reached the southern outskirts of modern Russia. Gradually, the climate became warmer, but the places where the glacier remained for a long period of time still retained traces of its presence.

The article will tell you what the Bolshezemelskaya tundra is. Natural characteristics, economic aspects of the development of the territory will be described in detail there.

Features of the relief

The terrain has the structure of a hilly plain, whose height is generally 100-150 m, sometimes reaches 250 m in the form of moraine ridges. They are a geological body formed by glacial deposits. The internal structure is a very heterogeneous detrital material. It includes both giant stone blocks up to several hundred meters in length, as well as clay, formed as a result of crushing debris during the movement of the glacier. Gradually melting, on the surface of the earth he left his contents. Powerful moraine ridges were formed mainly where the ice thickness was maximum, or at the very edge of the glaciation. The Bolshezemelskaya tundra is crossed by two highlands - the Earth's ridge and the Chernyshev ridge. The second is stretched almost 300 km, up to the Polar Urals. Its height is up to 205 m, the surface has a plateau-like structure, the composition - limestones and sandstones. Vegetation in the southern part is richer - it is a deciduous and spruce taiga.

Eternal Frost

The Bolshezemelskaya tundra is mainly permafrost (cryolithozone), for which the absence of periods of thawing is characteristic. In fact, this is the surface part of the earth's crust, which for a long time (from a couple of years to millennia) has a temperature of 0 ° C, groundwater is represented by ice. Its depth sometimes reaches up to 1000 m. Naturally, this fact is reflected in the nature of the soils of the region. In them, under conditions of continuous or permanent frost, many specific processes take place. A humus layer may accumulate above the surface of the frozen layer, and cryogenic structuring of soils under the influence of low temperatures.

Soil of the region

Description of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra in English with detailed characteristics found on the network is difficult. However, there is a lot of information about similar regions with permafrost in the north of Alaska, Antarctica, Canada, Europe and even Asia. In general, unstructured or gley soils with typical rusty or gray coloring are most typical for such a terrain. On the plain you can find peat-marsh types of soil, but the peat layer is insignificant - 10-15 cm. It is impossible to accumulate more of it due to the short and cold summer, in which the vegetation is very scarce. Known Malozemelskaya, Bolshezemelskaya tundra. However, two of these regions should not be confused. In the first case, we are dealing with a richer flora and fauna. The territory is inhabited by indigenous northern peoples and Russians, and is more suitable for living.


The climatic conditions on the territory of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra are extremely severe. Winter lasts more than six months, with the preservation of the snow cover from October to June. Long winter months pass without the sun, frosts are possible even in the summer. The average July temperature is +8 ... + 12 ° С. Constantly blowing strong winds from the Arctic, blowing snow from the plains into the lowlands and forming deep snowdrifts. The annual level of precipitation is kept at around 250 mm in the north and 450 mm in the south.

And yet in the spring, like the whole world, the Bolshezemelskaya tundra wakes up, changing in its northern beauty. The snow melts on the hills and slopes. The main factor that allows to survive in such conditions is light. A long polar day, when the sun does not fall for weeks for the horizon, promotes the development of meager vegetation.


The territory falls into the tundra zone, the subzone of the moss-shrub tundra and partly the forest-tundra. The latter occurs sporadically in the southern regions, floodplains of rivers, where fir and small-leaved species penetrate.

All tundra plants are characterized by an underdeveloped root system, which is distributed in a superficial shallow layer. It is explained by permafrost. Moisture is more than enough, but it can not get its plants because of the cold. Of wood species, dwarf birch and willow are the most common. But their height is so small that plants sometimes can not be seen in the grass.

Flowering plants of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra in the spring time - a spectacle of incredible beauty. The seeming lifeless territory is transformed and filled with bright colors, which can be envied by warmer regions. Annual plants do not have time to form seeds during the season, so the flora is represented by perennials: mother-and-stepmother, gentian, cyanosis, cotton grass, bathing-house, buttercup, forget-me-nots, castillo Vorkuta, etc. The farther north, The kingdom of lichens, which in the tundra has more than 100 species.


The fauna of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra is also rather limited. The relationship is the same: the cold climate restricts vegetation and, as a consequence, the food base. The real king of the territory can be called a reindeer. This large cloven-hoofed mammal has all the necessary adaptive features for life in the Far North. The natural population closely borders on domesticated herds. The reindeer has always been and remains an indispensable assistant for the indigenous peoples.

Predators are mostly wolves, as well as bears (brown and white), wolverine, trot, foxes, arctic foxes. There is a lot of hares and lemmings in these places. In the tundra birds practically do not winter, but in the spring time it comes alive with the arrival of birds. These are seagulls, geese, turuhans, snipe, waders, loons, as well as more rare species under protection - swans, osprey, Red-throated loon, gray crane, peregrine falcon and others.

One of the main threats to the ecosystem is the struggle for oil in the Bolshezemelskaya tundra, accompanied by the destruction of natural habitats, a change in the terrain.

Tundra and man

At first glance it may seem that life in the conditions of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra is simply impossible for man. However, he found a place there. The development of the territory began in the twentieth century, at the beginning of which the map of these places was full of white spots. At the moment there are three settlements: Khorey-Ver, Karataik, Haruta. The population of the settlements is small, but significantly increases with the onset of the hunting and fishing season in the summer. Transport communication is not developed. You can get to settlements only by helicopter, tractor roads connect them with drilling stations.


The discovery of oil and gas fields is a promising opportunity for the development of the whole region of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra. According to the latest data, the bulk of the reserves of the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province is concentrated in this area. There is also a part of the coal basin. Of great importance are the research works of the scientist GA Chernov, thanks to which the region has prospects for development and the future.

Despite all the severity of the places, the Bolshezemelskaya tundra is a fragile ecosystem, therefore it is necessary to invade its unique and amazing world with great care, considering every step and its consequences.

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