The Vologda Oblast is a vast wooded area with some 71% (10 mln has) of its total land covered with forests: mostly spruce, but also pine and deciduous (birch, aspen, etc.). Wood is the most precious treasure of the region.
The forests contain an abundance of wilderness, wildlife and spectacular beauty. Typical representatives of fauna are elks (27,300 in number), bears (7,900 in number), lynxes, red foxes, wild pigs (7,300), forest martens, squirrels, and hares. One can find such game birds as black cocks, wood grouses, hazel hens, geese and ducks. The plant life map looks quite mixed.
The total supply of timber amounts to 1,6 bn cu m, 852 mln cu m of which are conifers. The planned annual wood-cutting area makes up 22 mln cu m.
Agricultural lands make up 10% of the total available land. Arable land equals to 718,400 has, pastures and hayfield - 571,000 has, marshes - 1272,000 has.
The Vologda Oblast is a region with the largest number of marshes, with the total reserves of peat making up 2,7 mln tons.
The Vologda oblast has a really unique nature. The Sukhona, Yug, Kubena, Sheksna rivers crossing its territory, as well as numerous lakes being pearls of the Vologda land are sources of water resources. The largest number of rivers is chiefly concentrated in the western part of the oblast (87%).
The Vologda oblast is noted for a watershed of three seas (the Baltic, the White Sea, the Caspian Sea).
Numerous rivers and brooks (all in all 20,000) and many lakes (5,300) are used for water supply, transport communication, fishing and tourism. Lake Beloye (1,290 sq km), Lake Vozhe (416 sq km), Kubenskoye Lake (407 sq km), Rybinskoye (4,500 sq km) and Sheksninskoye (380 sq km) reservoirs are the largest inland water resources in the Vologda region.
The rivers and lakes abound with 58 species of birds, 3 species of stone eel among them. Salmon, white salmon, European smelt, bream, pike, perch, sterlet, trout and pike appeal to the fishermen from the depth of clear waters.
Mineral and raw resources
The Vologda oblast boasts a wide natural resource base including major deposits of peat, fluxing limestone, gravel, construction sand, loam, sapropel, haydite, underground waters and other strategic minerals. On the territory of the region there are 440 deposits of peat, 348 deposits of construction sand and gravel, 54 - with brick earth and keramzite clay, 31 deposits of carbonate rocks and 10 with sapropel. All in all over 800 fields of minaral resources have been prospected.
Carbonate rocks (limestone and dolomites)
Depending on their quality, carbonate rocks are used as flux in the metallurgical industry, presenting a top-quality raw material, which meets the industry's strict requirements as regards chemical composition and physical parameters.
Deposits of flux limestone and dolomites are concentrated, in the main, in the northwest of the oblast.
The biggest deposit of flux limestone for blast furnace and open-hearth production is situated in the Vytegra district. Its reserves estimated by category A+B+C1 make up 546,948 thousand tons, and by category C2 - 912,727 thousand tons. Also situated in the district is the Novinkinskoye deposit of flux dolomites. Its reserves are estimated at 9,472 thousand tons by category C1, and 23,392 thousand tons by category C2. The deposit is not developed yet. Deposits of limestone suitable for producing lime are situated in the western area of the Vologda oblast.
Lowmelting clay and loam
The total reserves of clay by category A+B+C1 are estimated at 66.2 mln cu m, by category C2 - 89.4 mln cu m. The group of developed deposits numbers 25, with commercial reserves containing 46.8 mln cu m of clay.
Sand and gravel materials
Their total estimated reserves make up 83.1 mln cu m by category A+B+C1, and 30.7 mln cu m by category C2. Twelve deposits are developed. They contain 65.3 mln cu m which account for 78% of the explored reserves.
The deposits are distributed over the territory of the oblast rather unevenly, the big and medium ones being chiefly concentrated in the central districts: Cherepovets, Ust'-Kubina, Kirillov, Sokol and Tot'ma.
Construction sand reserves by category A+B+C1 make up 39 mln cu m, five deposits estimated to contain 18 mln cu m (or 46 percent of the explored reserves) are being prospected.
The reserves of construction sands are chiefly concentrated in the south-western part of the oblast.
There are two deposits of glass sands used for manufacture of glassware in the Vologda oblast, their reserves estimated by category A+B account for 2,874 thousand tons. Both deposits are on the territory of the Chagoda district.
Peat and organic mud (sapropel)
Peat deposits were found throughout the region territory - in the districts of Babaevo, Kadui, Mezhdurech'ye, Ustyuzhna, Chagoda and Cherepovets.
Numerous lakes contain considerable reserves of sapropel deposits, however the potential of this mineral raw material has not been sufficiently studied. 277 deposits of medical sapropel muds with a total square of 26,100 hectares have been prospected in the region.
On the territory of the oblast there are 42 deposits of fresh underground waters, 15 deposits of mineralized underground waters, and 4 - with process waters. Mineralized underground waters are available actually in every district of the oblast. Sulphate mineral waters are associated with anhydrites and gypsums. They are of low temperature and free of carbonic acids.
Waters containing bromine, hydrogen sulphide and iron microelements are also discovered in the oblast.