The Republic of Bashkortostan is situated between Asia and Europe. Its total area is 143,6 thousands kilometres. The Urals Mountains occupy 25% of the whole territory, forests-38% and the rest -steppes and forest-steppes. There are more than 2 thousand lakes, about 13 thousand rivers and the biggest one is the Belaya river, which flows into the Kama river.
The republic’s nature is various and rich. There are about 20 tree species in Bashkir forests, more than 6 thousand plant species, 12 of which were put on the Red Book of the Russian Federation and 232- on the republic’s Red Book. There are known over 100 kinds of wild edible plants; 120 officinal plants and about 200 herbs used in folk medicine; 25 sorts of fruit- and -berry plants and bushes, also 280 species of melliferous herbs and trees. The medicinal quality and especial chemical compound of Bashkir honey was caused by original natural-climatic conditions of Bashkortostan.
There are 300 bird species including 30 kinds of prey birds. 18 of which are entered in the Russia’s Red Book and 42 rare birds- in the Red book of Bashkortostan. There are 76 species of mammal, herbivorous and predatory animals in the forests and steppes. Wolves, wild boars, elks, bears, lynxes; squirrel, beaver, otter, ermine, marten, weasel, fox, mink, musk-rat and other animals are found there. 24 species of mammal animals are put on the Bashkortostan’s Red Book. There more than 3.7 thousand insect species are revealed in the republic’s territory, 51 of them are entered in the Red Book of Bashkortostan; 47 kinds of fish and 13 of which are put on the Red book. 10- amphibia, 10 — reptile and about 120 species of mollusks.
Bashkortostan’s climate is continental and temperately warm. The ranges of the South Urals have great influence on the climate. The continental Asian air masses influence on climate forming in Zauraliye (i.e. Trans Ural area), and in Priuraliye — Atlantic air. Average annual temperature in Priuraliye +2,0 degrees. The average temperature of January fluctuates from -14 till -17 degrees, of July — from +18 up to +20 degrees. Unfrosty period is 110-140 days. Snow cover lasts 140-147 days. The climate of the South Urals mountains is temperately cold and demp. The average temperature in January is from -16 till -18 degrees, in July from +17 up to +19 degrees. Snow cover lasts 130-160 days. The unfrosty period in the Zilairskii plateau and in the South of the republic is longer, winter is shorter.
Priuraliye. The forest-steppe area coming to (turning into) steppes; forest tracts are remained in heights. It is the left-bank areas of the Belaya river in its middle and lower reaches, and also the basins of the Ufa and Dyoma rivers. Priuraliye is crossed by the Ashkadar, Baza, Belaya (or the Agidel), Bystryi Tanyp, Dyoma, Ik, Karmasa, Syun, Ufa (the Karaidel), Chermasan rivers and their tributary streams. There are such beautiful lakes as the Asylykul, the Akkul (Beloye), the Kandrykul in Priuraliye.
The South Urals. Occupying the South-East part of the republic, in the direction of meridian, there rise the ridges of Alatau, Bashtau, Uraltau and others, forming range of mountains. Lowering to the South, it ends with the Zilairskii plateau. Among the ridges the summits of such mountains as Yamantau (1640 metres above see level), Bolshoi Iremel (1582 metres), Mashak (1327 metres) rise. There are a lot of beautiful karst wells, craters, foundation pits. There are world-known caves Shulgantash (Kapova) and Sumgan in Burzyanskii district. The Volga, Ural, Ob rivers and such big rivers as the Belaya and Ural originate in the South Ural mountains.
The East and West slopes, at a height of 600- 1100 metres, are covered by fir-trees, higher than 1000 metres there are stone-placers and mountain tundras, lower than 700 metres -forests with good pronounced wood and herbage layers. Eastern slopes are formed by pine and deciduous forests, Weastern slopes are covered by lime, oak, maple forests in combination with birch, aspen woods and with thick and high grass. Oak, birch and aspen groves spread over the South slopes of the mountain. Forest-steppe landscapes predominate there.
Zauralive. In the Western part, there rise the ranges of the Kryktytau and the Irandyk. In the East — there are small hills and ridges. The main rivers are the Sakmara, the Tanalyk, the Ural with its tributary streams the Bolshoi and the Maly Kizil; Iremel, Miass, Ui fall into the basin of the Ob river. On the whole, rivers are shallow and they dry up when it is droght.
The Zauraliye landscape is mainly forest- steppes and steppes. The feather steppes with dif- ferent grasses stretch in the South — East. There are a lot of lakes in Zauraliye: the Atavdy, Aush- kul, Bolshiye Uchaly, Kalkan, Karabalykty, Kara- gaily, Muldak, Surtandy, Talkas, Uzunkul, Urgun, Chebakty, Chebarkul, Yaktykul (the Bannoye), Yaugul (the Kultuban) and others. Also there are quite a lot of bogs.
By the government’s decree more than 150 nature objects are announced the nature monuments which are of great importance. They are protected by the law.