Wooded Steppe in RussiaBetween the mixed and deciduous forests and the taiga of the north, and the semidesert and desert vegetal bands of the south, lies a vast expanse of wooded steppe and steppe grasslands. The wooded steppe is a transition vegetal zone that extends across a narrow band of southern Russia and northern Ukraine into western Siberia. It is composed of small, isolated forests or clumps of oak, birch, and aspen separated by patches of tall grassland. Other than drought-tolerant pine, needleleaf coniferous trees generally are not found in the wooded steppe. The western or Ukrainian-Russian wooded steppe is characterized by broadleaf deciduous trees. Birch trees characterize the Siberian wooded steppe. Humans have impacted most of the wooded steppe in some way. The beautiful tall grasses have been, for the most part, plowed under. The land is now planted with winter wheat or sunflowers.
Birch tree forests dot the wooded steppe of southern Siberia. These small to medium-size trees generally live in northern temperate climates and are closely related to the beech and oak family. Pictured here is a stand of birch and pine trees along the Yenisey River between the towns of Krasnojarsk and Jenisseisk.