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Soil Study in Kamennaya Steppe

Russian Federal Nature Preserve Kamennaya Steppe (~5232 ha) is located in the Talovsky district of Voronezh region in the watershed of rivers Bitug and Khoper (tributaries of Don River).  
The study of Kamennaya Steppe soils begun in 1892 by the foundedr of Russian soil science Vasily Vasil’evich Dokuchaev. Since 1911 the work of first Dokuchaev’s expedition was continued by various research institutions of Russia. In 1956 Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences established in Kamennaya Steppe Dokuchaev’s  Institute of Agriculture in the Chernozem Region of Russia  


Unique features of Kamennaya Steppe

Kamennaya Steppe has the longest in Russia records of ground water level.  The first "Dokuchaev's" well was established in 1892.  At present total number of active wells is 150.

Kamennya Steppe has the longest in the World record of reforestation history. Before the first Dokuchaev’s expedition the entire area of Kamennaya Steppe was covered with native tall steppe grasses such as sage and feather grass. At present about 10% of the entire Kamennaya Steppe watershed (~5232 ha) is covered with trees (mostly oak and maple).  About 4 ha of this watershed is preserved for native steppe vegetation (nature preserves #1 and 2, see the map)

There are number of archived soil samples collected in Kamennaya Steppe during the last 100 years. The first sample were collected by Dokuchaev’s expedition.  Later samples were collected by a number of researches, including scientists from the Central Dokuchaev's Soil Museum.

The ~5x10 meters mosaic outside the museum of Dokuchaev's Institue in Kamennaya Steppe.

V.V. Dokuchaev in Kamennaya Steppe with peasants.  Artist: G.A. Goncharov, 1951 (oil on canvas).  Museum of Dokuchaev's Institute in Kamennaya Steppe.


Image Credits:
N.S. Agafonov, V.I. Skachkov, B.A. Rybalkin, A.G. Lapenas

Web page created by
Andrei Lapenas & Matt Ryan