The Bryansk Forest Zapovednik (strict nature reserve) was established on July 14, 1987 in the Trubchevsk and Suzemka districts of the Bryansk Region of western Russia. The preserve covers 12,186 hectares of the Desna and Nerussa river floodplains, making it one of the 15 smallest federal preserves in Russia. The Bryansk Forest Zapovednik covers 0.3 percent of the Bryansk Region and 1.45 percent of forested lands of the region. A buffer zone (9,654 hectares) was created around the zapovednik in order to minimize human impacts on the pristine wilderness. The buffer zone regime is less strict than the protected regime of the zapovednik: sport fishing, mushroom and berry collecting, and interpretive tourism all allowed here, but not on the territory of the Bryansk Forest Zapovednik.
In all, 786 species of higher plants have been identified in the Bryansk Forest Zapovednik and 274 vetebrates species reside here. The high diversity of the zapovendik's plant and animal life is a result of the merging of elements of different geographical zones: boreal and broadleaf forests and forest-steppe. Five species of plants are listed in the Russian Red Book. Many rare species of animals are protected in the reserve: Russian desman, brown bear, river otter, lynx, black stork, common crane, and others. Twenty-five species of animals are listed in the Russian Red Book. Interestingly, the Bryansk Forest is the only place in Europe where all 10 species of European woodpecker can be found: great spotted, middle spotted, Syrian, white-backed, green, and others.
In 2001, the zapovednik was awarded the status of biosphere reserve by the UNESCO «Man and the Biosphere» Program. This means that the territory of the Bryansk Forest Zapovednik can be used to develop and test models for sustainable development and balancing the needs of people and nature.
Kletnyansky Sanctuary. The Kletnyansky Sanctuary was placed under the jurisdiction of the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve in 2009, although it was established much earlier. In 1946, following World War II, a multi-use local-level nature sanctuary was established in the Kletnyansky District of the Bryansk Region. The main purpose of the sanctuary was to protect Bryansk populations of brown bear, wild ungulates, grouse, as well as habitat for the Russian desman, beaver, and other species. In 2002, the sanctuary received federal nature sanctuary status, and since 2009, the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve manages the Kletnyansky Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is unique in its natural features and abundance of rare species of plants and animals. Eighty percent of the sanctuary is forested. The sanctuary also has several especially valuable natural communities and ecosystems: floodplain oak forests and sparse forests of the Iput River, wetlands near the confluence of the Iput and Voronusa rivers, moss pine stands (where bilberry thickets and capercaillie habitat are found), sphagnum pine stands and swamps (where cranberry bogs and capercaillie habitat are found), and the valley of the Oporot River with its unique natural floodplain forest and wetland ecosystems. Seventeen villages and settlements are located on the territory of the sanctuary, which mandates a specialized protected regime taking into account the interests of the local residents.