Nature of Krasnodar Krai
Krasnodar krai is located at the turn of two landscape zones – steppes and fluxes of Transkuban lowland and forests of the Caucasian mountain range. In the north of the territory there is Kuban-Azov plain. In the south foothills turn into mountains of the Caucasus, dropping off to the Black Sea. It is impossible to unambiguously to refer the western extremity of the territory – Tamansky peninsula – both to a mountain and a flat area.
On the whole soils of Krasnodar region are various. In the valley of the Kuban river and plain estuaries, being overgrown with rush, reed mace and other water-resistant plants. In the west of Tamansky peninsula – droughty and warm part of the territory – lower, lower-steppe, lower-chernozem, alluvial-lower, lower-forest prevail. They are good for growing tobacco, gardening and wine-growing.
Soils of the territory subject to wind and water erosion, fight against which formed such peculiarity of the modern landscape of Kuban steppes as woodland belts. The woodland belts, cutting a ploughed field into squares, prevent soils from erosion and serve as protection of lands against blowing dusts.
Shores of Krasnodar region are washed with two seas – the Black and the Azov. Connecting by rather narrow Kerchensky Strait, they differ from each other very much.
Area of the Azov sea is 11 times and its volume is 1678 times less than the Black one. Desalted with inflowing rivers, especially the Kubanko and Don, it is one of the freshest seas of the planet and it easily freezes.
In summer because of shallow depths (up to 14 m) it easily warms up. The temperature at the shores reaches + 32 C. Average annual temperature of the water in the Azov makes up + 11 – 2 C. While long north-east winds much Azov water are blew out into the Kerchensky channel and the Azov sea becomes shallow. Winter and autumn storms drive the water together in the extensive field, baring the bottom. Fluctuations of water in this period reach 3-4 m.
The neighboring Black sea is incommensurably larger, saltisher and stabler. The largest depth of the water on the surface in the open sea in winter is – 6 – 8 C, in the southern part – 8 – 10 C. Average temperature of water in July makes up + 24 C. At a depth of 50-70 m temperature is constant and mekes up + 6 – 7 C.
A peculiarity of the Black sea is concentration of hydrogen sulphide at a depth of over 150 m. Scientists explain this phenomenon with the help of geological catastrophes of the period of the Caucasian mountains origin, in the course of which a bowl of the sea took the present form. The Black sea is connected with the World ocean by rather shallow and narrow straits the Bosphorus and Dardanella with moderate carrying capacity. Because of it waters of the Black sea are involved in planetary, oceanic, water exchange to a less degree. Hydrogen sulphide is not carried away from the Black sea into the Atlantic and is utilized only with the sea itself and accumulates on the bottom of the sea bowl.
High concentration of hydrogen sulphide makes the depths of the Black sea lifeless – the rich plant and fauna world is concentrated is only on the upper lays of water. Here valuable kinds of food fish – beluga, sturgeon, stellate sturgeon, khamsa, sprat, sea-roach, sazan, bream, grey mullet, horse-mackerel, mackerel, flounder. There are many dolphins. Entered in the Red Book monk seal, called in this way because of the fact that it inhabits not by colonies as its ocean congeners do, but alone, is found there. In fish reserve the Black sea greatly yields to the Azov sea, in which low salinity, shallowness, good shuffleness and heating of the waters create favorable conditions for development of plant and animal organisms, serving as good feed for sturgeon, bream, zander, sazan, sardelle, sprat.
Shores of the neighboring seas greatly differ. Majestic rocks, covered with pine-trees, oaks and chestnut-tree and dropping off at the very water, are typical for the Black sea, and only near Anapa – in the area of the old flood-lands of Kuban – many-kilometer beaches start.
The Azov sea hides its shores in a interminable labyrinth of estuaries, gulfs, channels, rush fluxes and sandbanks – spits.
One of the most abounding in water rivers of the Northern Caucasus - the Kuban – starts at the glaciers of the south-west slopes of the Elbrus. Íà ïðîòÿæåíèè of 906 km of its stream (over 700 km of which are within the borders of the Territory) it crosses alpine, mountain-forest, forest-steppe zones. Kuban is located in the middle between the North pole and equator (Krasnodar is located in the 45th parallel), owing to which solar activity in the region is higher than in other parts of Russia (in particular, 1.5 times as much than in Moscow Territory).
The climate of the most part of the territory is temperate continental, on the coast of the Black sea (to the south of Tuapse) – subtropical damp. A peculiarity of Kuban lies in the fact that the weather in different areas can be absolutely different even within the bounds of one and the same landscape. The reason of this lies in the eastern and north-eastern atmospheric fronts, for which Kuban plain is opened.
A cold spring comes early. Summer in the first part abounds in downpours, winds and thunderstorms, and in the second – it is drought, determining character of autumn – long, dry and warm. Winter of the central part of the Territory (Krasnodar, Dinskoy, Ust-Labinsky, Crimean areas) are the most uncertain. In January during a day temperature may fluctuate from – 10 to – 15 C, the sun is replaced by rain and snow. Spring comes early and right away bathing season opens and potatoes of spring sorts, which was planted in February, yields a harvest by the end of May.
Already in May temperature of the air reaches + 30 C, but in June heavy showers cause it to fall. From July droughty period, which may lasts till the end of October, begins and then changes into drizzling rains. Just owing to the western winds in the central part of Kuban heavy rains with thunderstorms periodically happens in the middle of winter.
In submountain areas climate hasn’t drastic fluctuations of daily and monthly temperatures. These southern and south-east territories are subjected to effect of winds not so much. Each valley may have its own settled microclimate. The average temperature gradually increases from + 14-15 in May to + 20-22 C in august (maximum is + 38 C). Autumn and spring are warm, with occasional rains, but without drought. At the beginning of summer in the south-east part of foothills danger of heavy hail, which does severe damage to agriculture, rises. Already for several decades in the area of Novokubansk there is a special service for protection against.
The weather in the mountains is determined already not by north-easter but heights. With every 100 m temperature of the air is – 0.5 C lower (in summer about – 0.6 C, in winter – 0.3 C lower). Snow falls already in October – November. Winter is snowy, windless and long. And though it hasn’t hard frosts, high in the mountains frosts sometimes reach – 30 C.
Length of the shore line of the Black sea makes up 550 km. On this short (to Russian measures) length there are minimum three climatic zones, differing not only from Krasnodar Territory, but also from each other.
The first one falls on the northern part of the coast – from Kerchensky strait to Anapa. Here, on the western extremity of the territory, through which all winds of Tamansky peninsula blow, because of nearness of the sea – winter is damp and summer is traditionally arid, sunny. But owing to sea breezes it is easier to bear summer Kuban heat on the coast than on the continent.
The second climatic zone of the coast stretches further south than Anapa to Tuapse. Here the mountains bar way to the north-east continental winds and climate becomes damper. The coast is covered with a forest. Oak, here and there arborescent junipers, undersized Cornelian cherries, sloe, hawthorn are wide spread. It is easier to bear summer heat here than in the Tamansky peninsula and winter is much milder. In the area of Novorossiysk in winter the natural phenomenon of Bohra occurs. Bohra is a gusty north-east icy wind of severe of destructive force.
The cold wind, intruding in Kuban from the north-east meets Caucasian range on its way, lingers and accumulates before mountains. A lay of icy air gradually grows and may be of the level of the mountain range in its lowest part – on Markohotsk pass, closing Novorossiysk. When it happens cold air masses spill over the range and with speed up to 70 km/h and gust up to 200 km/h falls on the seaport, uprooting trees, blowing off roofs, breaking posts. While Bohra ships, situating in the bay, can be covered with ice and sunk at once, therefore they try to put out to the open sea. Duration of Bohra is from 24 hours to 6 days. In Novorossiysk every winter Bohra blows on average for 45 days.
The third climatic zone of the Black Sea coast of Russia – from Tuapse to the border with Abkhazia – is covered with mountain range, height of which makes up from 1000 to 3,500 m. Behind them, practically as behind a stone wall, for 145 km damp subtropics stretch. Difference between continental Kuban and subtropics of Big Sochi is perceptible especially in late autumn and winter. In November when cold northern winds blow through Krasnodar and column of thermometer falls lower than zero, when almost all Russia is already covered with snow, you find yourselves in other world, when you may swim in the sea (temperature of water is about + 18-19 C).
To the south from forest-steppe horizontal line of zoning abruptly changes into vertical one. Growth under the influence of the Caucasian mountain range forms three belts: forest, sub-alpine and alpine. Forest belt is divided into three zones: shortish, middling-mountain and upper-mountain. The shortish zone, from 0 to 600-700 m above sea level, is covered with broad-leaved, mostly oak forests of summer and winter oak with a touch of maple, ash, lime, hornbeam, alder and other sorts. There are many fruit-trees: apple-trees, pear-trees, cherry-plum, Cornelian cherries, walnut.
Within the limits from 600-700 to 1000-1200 m above sea level middle-mountain forests begin. They are formed of eastern beech, it is accompanied with oak, elm, maple, chestnut and many other sorts, depending on conditions. Among bushes rhododendron, cherry-laurel, hazel, syringe.
The upper-mountain zone on the height from 1000-1200 to 2000-2200 m is covered with beech-fir and high dark coniferous forests of Caucasian fir and eastern spruce. Forests with domination of fir are found oftener, spruce seldom forms pure plantations. In the second tire of spruce-fir forests beech is almost often found. Here Caucasian fir – a strong and mighty tree, branches of which are throughout covered with dark-green needles.
The sub-alpine belt. Sub-alpine flora lies within the bounds from 1800 to 2200-2500 m above sea level. It doesn’t represent a common type; it is a complex, consisting of sub-alpine meadows, sub-alpine tall grasses, brushwoods of Caucasian rhododendron and sub-alpine juniper. Sometimes to this belt fir and beech crooked forests and also sparse growth of trees on the upper border of the forest belt are referred.
On the height of 2200-3000 m alpine meadows are situated. Plants of this zone are adapted to severe conditions of high mountains. They are shortish, stalks and leaves are pressed to the ground. Many of them have big bright flowers.
From 3000 m and higher are eternal snows and glaciers and inaccessible rocks, which almost lack of vegetation.
Fauna of Kuban is also various as its landscape is, but like flora, it is subject to strong pressure of man. However many animals adapted themselves to neighborhood with people. Hares, foxes, jackals began to settle in brushwoods of agricultural inconveniences – gullies, forest belts, flood-lands copses.
Fluctuations of population, which are character for rodents, lead to the fact that in some stanitsas inhabitants set snares for hares just at their own vegetable gardens. Small rodents and predators – hamsters, mouse, weasels, polecats – are better settle down at human habitations. Steppe eagle, glorified in the famous song, is a constant inhabitant of the Kuban skies as before. Already in 50 km from Krasnodar in the area of stanitsa Krepostnoi bear, roe, red deer, wild pigs can be found.
In the mountains Caucasian bison is found. In the alpine meadows Caucasian goat lives. Caucasian goat and bison are entered into the Red book. Caucasian goat is a mountain goat, grows up to a centner and a half and more. Because of unusually beautiful horn of bucks, reaching 1 meter of length, for some time Caucasian goats were on the verge of extinction.
The world of fluxes is also rich. Interminable rushy expanses, flooded with water after the rain up to the waist, and at the arid weather – up to the ankle, become abodes for water birds: ducks, bald-coots. Here gulls and cormorants, pelicans and swans, herons and bitterns nest. In the rush “jungles” wild boars skulk. Silver carps, brought from the Far East and acclimatized, looking like logs, swim in estuaries under water. Growing up to a meter and a half in length and feeding on rush white amurs can make in fluxes a noise like noise of a grazing flock of pigs. Because of this in jest local people call amurs “water pigs”.
In reservoirs sazan, cat-fish, crucian, barbell, gudgeon, chub, pike, perch, pike perch are fished. Crawfishes and tortoises are found. In the Black and Azov seas there are vary many various miller’s thumbs. Especially large “Kerch” miller’s thumbs (up to 30 cm in length) are fished on the Black sea coast of the Kerchensky strait.
Admiring the untouched beauty and swimming in the Black sea, it better not to forget about danger. In the Black sea there are some dwellers, dangerous for man. The Black Sea ray, sea fox and chuco. They have a diamond-shaped body and a long tail.
Chuco is a viviparous fish, and young fishes of sea fox are born out of eggs. Sea fox is not venomous, but chuco is, on the contrary, very dangerous. It is also called a stingray-clam cracker. Chuco likes sun on the sandy shoal. Often people take it for flounder and try to fish, but in the moment of danger, for example, if you catch its clam cracker by hand or step on it by chance, in a moment it strikes a blow by its tail with corneous thorn and injects the strongest venom into the wound. The place of the prick swells, man may feel an awful pain, incomplete paralysis may begin.
If sea chuco stroke you, immediately get out on the shore, extract a thorn out of the wound, suck off venom and immediately call for doctor.
Scorpionfish can inflict painful pricks. Lovers of underwater hunting suffer it. The fish dwells on the bottom, at a depth of a few meters, in the crevices of the rocks. If you fished a ruff, follow some safety regulations. Don’t touch fins and thorns on the back of the fish. Wounds, inflicted by this fish, become inflamed and ache. Because of venom temperature can rise. Be very careful while underwater hunting.
The most dangerous for a man dweller of the Black sea is a weever fish, it is also called a scorpion-snake. It is a little grey fish, length of which is 25-30 cm, with sharp venomous thorns on the dorsal fin and gill plate. Weever fish is usually not found in the places of swimming, but can take the bait. If an inexperienced fisherman takes it by hands, thorns will stick into palms and inject virulent venom. An awful pain will arise, skin around prick will swell and in some cases tissues can grow numb. Soon symptoms of general poisoning will emerge: headache, heart pain, breathlessness, in some cases paralysis of extremities, alalia and the death. The pain lasts about a 24 hours, tumor – up to 10 days, and general lethargy – about a month.
Before-doctor help consists in extracting fragments of fins out of the wound, sucking off venom, irrigating the wound with spirit or manganese solution. It is necessary to bring the patient to the hospital for a course of general detoxication. Be very careful to avoid this. Look under foot on the shoal and don’t take the fish, if you don’t know it.
The most dangerous herbaceous plant of the Caucasus is wild anisetree. Due to its unusual characteristics, this plant is also called fraxinella, fire-grass and fire-flower. It is a short plant with light violet flowers is found in different areas of our country. Everywhere fraxinella is safety, but not on the Black Sea coast. Here it represents real danger for people and animals.
In the period of blooming in May-June flowers of wild anisetree at touch with a man’s skin cause awful pain and inflict deep chemical injuries, which don’t skin for a long time and leave on the body traces in the form of dark spots.
The reason of such influence on man and animal lies in essences, which flowers contain. Flowers contain so many essences that if you bring a match to the plant, around the plant brightly blue flame will flare up.
Besides anisetree singes can be left by cow-parsnip. Everyone can see its powerful strong leaves, slightly resembling burdocks, and umbels of white flowers, often reaching a man’s height, along the Black Sea rivers and roads.
In a certain period of its growth period browses of cow-parsnip can leave full-thickness burn, and at touch with the plant a man feels nothing unpleasant, blisters and wounds emerge only in a few hours.
If you burned yourself in the forest with fraxinella or cow-parsnip, you should immediately ask for medical assistance for the avoidance of complications.