The largest swamp in the world is a group of Vasyugan swamps, which are located in the interfluve of the Ob and Irtysh in Western Siberia. This natural object will soon be included in the World Heritage List compiled by UNESCO. The total area of the swamp is 53 thousand square kilometers, which, for example, is more than the territory of Switzerland. It is really huge. Its age is about 10 thousand years, but intensive swamping of the territory has begun only in the last half of the millennium: over the past 5 centuries, the Vasyugansky swamps have increased their area four times.
Ancient legends say that there was once a marvelous sea-Ozero. Geologists have found that the swamp in this area was formed not by overgrowing the lake, but due to the onset of the swamp on land. The process of swaping the area is very active, and there is an annual increase in the swamp by 800 hectares. A climatic factor plays a fairly large role in expanding the territory of the swamp. There is increased humidity, and the temperature ranges from –20 to +17 degrees Celsius. In general, the climate of the Vasyugansk swamps is a humid continental.
Flora and fauna of the ecosystem of Vasyugan swamps
The peculiarity of the ecosystem of Vasyugansk swamps is that a huge number of rare species of animals and birds live. They were supplanted from their home areas by man, so they found a refuge in the area of the swamp. Among the flora, the presence of medicinal herbs and berries on the banks of the swamps can be noted. For example, here you can collect blueberries, cranberries and cloudberries.
In Vasyugansk swamps there are about two dozen species of fish:
On the territory where swamps border with lakes, rivers and forests, you can find otter and moose, sables and minks. Among the birds, the area is rich in hazel grouse, capercaillie, sappsans, brackets, ducks.
Vasyugan swamps are of great importance to the life of the region. Swamp waters are the most important sources of fresh water. In addition, peat is mined here. The swamps also purify the air, reduce the level of greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, and are one of the most important factors affecting the climate of Siberia, according to experts. Vasyugansk swamps are a kind of filter of natural origin, without which it is impossible to imagine the existence of nearby ecosystems.