Mordovia state preserve was found on 5 March 1936. In 1936 it is named after Peter Smidovich, a man who dedicated much time and attention to wildlife preservation issues and who was a head of Preserves Committee of the Presidium of All-Russian Central Executive Committee.Back in 1936 the preservation area counted 32 933 hectares and it is 32 162 now. Administratively the territory of Mordovia State Natural Reserve is a part of Temnikovsky region of the Mordovia respublic.

The preserve first objective was an immediate recovering activity from the lumbering and a vast crown fire in mature and ripening pine forest which denuded around 2000 hectares in 1938. The prime objectives then were in preserving and recovering of the Taiga zone south ridge woodland, which has a soil and water protecting matter; fauna preserving and enrichment by the reacclimatization and acclimatisation of the most precious species; studying of harmful entomofauna and the survey of the most rational method of controlling it. Currently it is preserving of South woodlands natural landscapes, stretching along the sod-podzol and forest-steppe zones edge.

The preserve is situated on the right wooded bank of the river Moksha. From the north it is bordered with the river Satis, which is the right branch of Moksha, and from the East it is framed with the river Arga, which flows in the Satis. West border is formed by the rivers Chernaya, Satis, Moksha. From the South there is a natural border formed by the approaching forest-steppe. By the natural zoning the preservation woodlands is a part of mixed coniferous-broad-leaved forest at the edge of forest-steppe zone.

mgpz general map eng

Climatically preserve is a part of the Atlantic-continental temperate region. Frost-free season lasts 120-135 days (since early May until mid September). Stable negative temperature (Celsius) sets in November. The maximum absolute temperature fixed is 40В°C, minimum one пЅ° - 48В°C (winter 1978-1979). The average annual rainfall is 530 mm of precipitation. The average snow depth is about 50-60 cm, in snowy years - up to 80 cm.

Two glaciers gave specific shape to the woodland. Dnieper glaciation denuded chalkstone and then covered them with moraine. Then 25 thousand years ago Valdai glacier washed away sediment of prior glaciation with its streams, filling depressions with ancient alluvial sands. Ancient glaciers have significantly changed the relief, leaving a wide stripes of sand under the Dnieper-Desna and Oka-Klyasma woodlands, partially separated by Central Russian Upland. Mordovia preserve is situated in South-Eastern part of Oka-Klyasma woodlands, at the edge of forest-steppe zone.

Watershed zone between the rivers Moksha and Satis represents the fourth, Dnieper terrace, while on the glacis to Moksha two more younger terraces (third and second), can be distinguished. Morena sediments are washed away here, and underlying chalkstone is covered with the incumbency of sands. Ancient alluvial sands cover as well morena extant on the fourth terrace. The incumbency of sands is different along the territory but they still cover all the terraces above the flood plain. The sands were deposited by the water flows of retreating glaciers and that effected the level ground nature of the territory, especially on the most ancient terraces of the Moksha valley. Close to the river young terraces are flattened but there still can be distinguished rare sinkholes on the table land. There can be found sinkholes up to 30 meters in diameter on the preserve territory, and even more extensive but shallow saucer-shaped land subsidences, covered with sphagnum-sedge bogs. Sinkholes here have special form: they have water at the floor and a floating island of peat moss bound with the sedge roots.

Moksha river basin on the preserve territory is 15800 square kilometers. The preserve water web is formed by the small river (Pushta, Bolshaya Chornaya and Malaya Chornaya, Arga) and streams (Shavets, Vorskliay, Nuluy), which fall into the Moksha river. All of them have the astatic feeding webs of their own. All the rivers, excluding Pushta, don't have distinctive beds and constant water-flow in the course of a year. In summer water can be found only at separate parts of the rivers. Springs can support some water reserve in sinkholes and saucer-shaped land subsidences. A year depth of runoff hight is about 104 mm. In 1965 Moksha flood peak reached 731cm. Summer precipitation are of little consequence to Moksha streamflow. The water level can change after downpours first in the rivers of the basin, and only then in Moksha itself. Pushta water-producing area spreads to the most of the preserve territory. It flows into Satis at the preserve edge. Pushta bed isn't deeply cut into the ground and has bottomlands in its upper course, which are often swampy and don't have a distinctive shore line. The river hydrology is significantly effected by the beaver dams, which flood vast territories. In dry years river can parch till the lower reaches. There are about two dozens of lakes in the South-West of preservation. They are former riverbeds of Moksha. Sometimes deep and large (Picherki, Bokovoye, Taratinskoye, Inorki, Valza) lakes are connected with flow channels. The water surface is taken by the water lily (Nymphaea candida J. Presl), cow lily (Nuphar lutea (L.) Smith), pondgrass (Potamogeton natans L.), frog's-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae L.) and soldier (Stratiotes aloides L.). The strongest green is at the offshore strip.

At the Eastern part of the preservation river upper courses are of the other nature. The rivers have a deeply cut into the ground canyon type beds with the trees bent down. Springs, feeding this rivers can be less then 10-15 metres. Sinkholes-like land subsidences are typical for them. Drain effect of such rivers promotes soil formation process and enhance silvicultural soil properties. Peculiarities of preservation soils caused by relief and silvicultural conditions. On the first floodplain terrace prevail chernozemic under the oakery and humus gley soils under the black alder woods; on the second and third terraces there are poor sod-podzolic sandy soils under the pine forests; sometimes there can be found brown soils, soils on quartz sands underlaid with morena sandy clay and soils with strong humus-accumulative horizon.