The Bryansk Forest Reserve was created on July 14, 1987 within the Trubchevsky and Suzemsky districts of Bryansk Oblast, between the rivers Desna and Nerussa. The nature reserve covers 12,186 hectares, making it one of Russia's 15 smallest reserves. In 2001, the reserve was granted the status of a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO program «Man and the Biosphere» (MAB). In scientific terms, this means that the territory of the Bryansk Forest is designed to be a place where people will seek ways and test models of balanced interaction between humans and nature.
Bryansk Forest has 1,310 species of plants and 878 species of animals. The wide variety of flora and fauna in the reserve is a result of the amazing combination of elements from different geographical areas: taiga forests, deciduous forests, and forest-steppe. 5 of the plant species are listed in the Red Book of Russia.
The reserve protects many rare species of animals: muskrat, brown bear, otter, lynx, black stork, gray crane, and others. 25 species are listed in the Red Book of Russia. Bryansk Forest is the only place in Europe which has all 10 species of European woodpeckers: Greater Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Syrian, White-backed, Green, and others.
In order to mitigate the anthropogenic impact on unspoilt nature, the area of 9,654 hectares surrounding the reserve has been given the status of a protection area. Its rules are less strict than the protection regime of the reserve. Here people are allowed to engage in amateur fishing, mushroom and berry foraging, and educational tourism.