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About 1.5% of the land area of Russia, or 33.2 million ha, consists of 99 zapovedniks - scientific nature reserves, comparable to designated wilderness areas. They are the most traditional, the most strictly enforced and arguably the most important form of natural protected area in the country, allowing the conservation of such species as sable, European bison and Siberian crane and protecting the last islands of virgin steppe and the most valuable forest massifs. This book charts the successes and failures in the development of this unique system over a full century.