Physical and geographic location. Terrain, hydrography, climate.
Tigireksky Reserve is located within the watershed of the left tributaries of the Charysh River, including the Tigireksky Range in the northwestern Altai highlands. Its territory is divided into three parts located between 52°13' N. 88°59' E. (northernmost point), 50°49' N. 82°41' E. (southernmost and westernmost points), 51°08' N. 83°17' E. (easternmost point). The reserve lies within 500 and 2000 meters above sea level, with average elevation of – 800-1500 m. The dominant peaks are Chyornaya Mountain (2013 m above sea level) and Razrabotnaya Mountain (1962 m), the highest peaks in the Tigireksky range. The terrain is mostly mid-level mountains with domed tops. At the highest points in the axial region with concave slopes and steep-sided pyramidal peaks. River valleys are narrow with steep precipitous sides and canyons. The northern and western sections of the reserve are lower and smoother with flat sides.
The river system is rich and branched. The reserve’s largest river is the Belaya (“the White”) river, part of the Charysh River watershed, with the Bolshoy Tigirek (“the Big Tigirek”), Irkutka, Bolshaya Berlozhya, and Krokhalikha flowing into the Belaya River on the right, and the Strizhanka river on the left. The Glubokaya (“the Deep”), Chesnokov, Vostochny Aley, and Bolshaya Cherepanikha have their sources in southwestern Tigireksky Reserve all are found within the Aley River watershed. The river discharge is formed with snow and rain waters. Seasonal spring floods reach their maximum in June. Summer flash floods and extremely low winter discharge are typical. Ice cover forms in November and melts in April.
Tigireksky Reserve has a severe continental climate that is characterized by large swings in temperature, both diurnally and seasonally, with hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The average January temperature is –12… –16 °С, July – +16…+18 °С. Exceptional humidity (600-800 mm precipitation per year) together with an almost equal distribution of precipitation between hot and cold seasons create favorable conditions for extensive growth of forest and meadow vegetation along lower slopes.
Landscapes and ecosystems
ТеThe reserve is situated along two bands - low and mid-range mountains, hardly reaching 2000 m, – the lower border of alpine. Mountain forest-steppe extends along the uphill slopes where they interlace with meadow steppe and areas of shrubby thickets. Higher up, there is relict black taiga with predominant aspen-fir and high-grass forests, followed by Siberian pine-fir forests and above that sparse Siberian pine-fir forests. Above the tree-line, tall-grass subalpine and alpine meadows predominate.