Map of the Region Surveyed by the Sayan Expedition of the Department of Agriculture in 1914–16


This map concerns the Sayan Expedition of 1914‒16 in south-central Siberia, which was conducted under the auspices of the Imperial Russian Department of Agriculture. By the beginning of the 20th century, ecology and protection of the environment had become concerns in Russia. The paramount environmental issue was preservation of the sable (marten) in Siberia. The fur-bearing sable was both a symbol of the region and the very reason the Russians had expanded into Siberia in the 16th century. Late in the era of Tsar Nicholas II, the Imperial Department of Agriculture commissioned three separate expeditions to Lake Baikal, the Sayan Mountains, and Kamchatka to assess the health of marten populations and the need for protective measures. This map incorporates the findings of the Sayan Expedition, which explored the entire region near the headwaters of the Yenisei River north of the Russo-Mongolian border and produced reports about the state of the sable and other issues relating to the local ecology. The red line on the map traces the route of the expedition. A legend indicates the symbols used to signify cities, towns, railroads, highways, and other geographic features. The map measures distance in versts, a tsarist-era unit of measure equal to 1.07 kilometers. The map scale is given as 20 versts to one inch (2.54 centimeters). In 1915, even before the conclusion of the Sayan Expedition, the governor general of Irkutsk established the Sayan Zapovednik (Sayan Nature Reserve). A.G. Lepp, an apprentice scientist who oversaw the compilation of this map, was named the first director of the reserve. Despite the major upheavals of World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, World War II, and the eventual collapse of the communist system, the cause of ecological conservation moved forward in fits and starts in Russia over the course of the next century.

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Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Енисейская губ., юж. 1:840 000. Карта района обследованного Саянской экспедицией Департамента земледелия в 1914-15

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color


  • Map scale approximately 1:840,000

Last updated: December 11, 2017