Resting atop a rise with gentle slopes that survey a stream – a tributary of the Dymka River, Urdaly-Tau reveals itself as a landscape divided by a small ravine. The soil, with its distinctive carbonate and gravel composition, enhances this natural marvel. With an age of approximately 300 years, the village of Akbash boasts a history where inhabitants remember a pine forest gracing the slope. In the early 20th century, the forest underwent harvesting, leaving behind solitary pines until the late 1940s.
Unearthing Urdaly-Tau’s Ecological Tapestry
In 1968, a geobotanical expedition from Kazan University unearthed this 2.5-hectare plot, showcasing the ecological wealth of the region. The vegetative cover narrates a compelling story – a secondary meadow steppe emerging from the remnants of a pine forest. Boasting an impressive variety of plant species, including 76 typical of meadow steppes, 19 characteristic of rocky steppes, and 9 associated with pine forests, Urdaly-Tau hosts a diverse botanical diversity. Several species found here, such as creeping sage, spotted bellflower, perennial flax, dwarf almond, and more, are listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Tatarstan.
A Protected Natural Monument with Historical Significance
The Council of Ministers of the Tatar ASSR designated Urdaly-Tau by decree in 1972, marking it as one of the initial protected sites in the republic. This elevated expanse showcases gently sloping terrains, almost resembling two distinct segments with gravelly carbonate soil that is inconvenient for cultivation. Scientists underscore the monumental importance of Urdaly-Tau in preserving the biodiversity of southeastern Tatarstan. This specially protected natural territory holds significance in both scientific and historical realms. Consequently, activities such as plowing the slope and extensive cattle grazing are restricted, ensuring the conservation of this ecological treasure.
Preserving Urdaly-Tau for Future Generations
More than a natural monument, Urdaly-Tau serves as a living testament to the delicate balance between human intervention and nature’s resilience. By imposing restrictions on certain agricultural activities, the region ensures the preservation of its unique flora and contributes to the scientific legacy of Tatarstan. The prohibition on plowing and grazing represents a commitment to the longevity of Urdaly-Tau’s ecological marvels, safeguarding its beauty for generations to come.