ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2015, Vol. 46, No. 5, pp. 450–455. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2015.
Original Russian Text © V.P. Novikov, 2015, published in Ekologiya, 2015, No. 5, pp. 361–366.
Shifts in the southern boundary of reindeer range
reflect the response of these animals to the advance
ment of technological civilization in Western Siberia.
Human expansion to the north of the region proceeds
mainly in the Tyumen–Tobol direction. A wide corri
dor for industrial development appeared with the con
struction of the Tyumen–Tobolsk–Surgut railway and
then of the Ivdel–Ob and Tavda–Mezhdurechenskii
The special literature provides data only on the fac
tual position of the southern boundary of reindeer
range in Western Siberia in different time periods. It is
commonly accepted that the range of reindeer is getting
reduced and that its southern boundary is shifting
northward (Laptev, 1958). Possible shifts of this bound
ary during time intervals between records and over the
entire historical period have not been described. There
fore, the purpose of this study was to consider changes
in its position in the region over the past 150 years.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Attention here is focused on the southern boundary
of reindeer range during the 19th, 20th, and early 21st
centuries within the limits of presentday Sverdlovsk
and Tyumen oblast. This part of the boundary may be
divided into three segments: Loz’va–Tavda in eastern
Sverdlovsk oblast; TyumenTobolsk, which lies
approximately within NizhneTavdinskii and Tobol
skii districts of Tymen oblast; and VagaiUvat in the
samenamed districts of Tyumen oblast. Their geo
graphical location is characterized in chronological
order, following publication of relevant information.
The method of historical reconstruction of the rein
deer range has been used. Data for analysis are taken
mainly from the scientific literature. Factual data con
cern the distribution of reindeer in the 21st century..
In this paper, the range is understood as the total
area of species distribution, including both its contin
uously populated parts and the zone with separate foci
(islands) of species’ occurrence but without taking
into account sporadic longdistance visits of solitary
individuals (Reimers, 1990;
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The position of the southern boundary of reindeer
range in Western Siberia in the period from the 11th to
the mid20th century is given in the study by Laptev
(1958), where the author notes that this part of the
range has undergone major changes during the above
period, with its southern boundary steadily shifting
Researchers who explored Western Siberia in the
midtolate 19th century describe the position of this
boundary very approximately. Thus, according to
Middendorf (1869), the equatorial limit (southern
boundary) of reindeer distribution in the 1840s and
1850s lied at
N, passing near Tyumen and Tobolsk.
In fact, this author indicates not the boundary as such
but rather a band about
N wide (i.e., about 300 km
in the south–north direction).
Other explorers indicate only the southern limit of
reindeer migrations. Thus, Polyakov (1877) and Gon
datti (1888) note that in the second half of the 19th
century wild reindeer occurred south of Tobolsk.
According to Slovtsov (1892), reindeer in that period
no longer occurred on the right bank of the Tavda
River and occasionally visited the region of its estuary
but did not cross the Irtysh River. Therefore, the
southern boundary of their range passed along the
On the Position of the Southern Boundary of Reindeer Range
in the Taiga Zone of Western Siberia
V. P. Novikov
Yugra State University, ul. Chekhova 16, KhantyMansiysk, 628012 Russia
Received December 10, 2013
—The position of the southern boundary of reindeer range has been analyzed based on available
publications and data of winter censuses over the period from the late 19th century through the early 21st cen
tury. Periodic shifts of the boundary to the south and back to the north have been revealed and brought in cor
relation with the dynamics of reindeer abundance.
: reindeer, range boundary, range pulsation, Western Siberia