In our time wild-hive trees with wild Burzyan forest bees have preserved only in the Burzyansky district of Bashkiria.
The development of beekeeping in this place was facilitated by special natural conditions – an abundance of linden forests – a source of massive honey harvests. In addition, the local population was mainly engaged in nomadic cattle breeding, hunting and collecting honey, leaving the forests untouched for a long time.
Mass plowing of land and deforestation in Bashkiria began only in the second half of the 19th century. Untouched forests have preserved in the remote and almost roadless spurs of the Ural Mountains. It was here in 1958 that the natural habitat of the black forest bee was declared a nature reserve.
In recent years the Burzyan bee in Bashkiria is under the threat of cross breeding – crossing with imported southern breeds of bees, and, accordingly, there is a risk of loss of an aboriginal, exclusively unique species for the whole world – the dark forest bee.
The unique dark forest bee has preserved only in the Burzyansky district, and was previously distributed throughout Europe, the Urals and England.
It was decided to save her, but not by prohibiting the breeding of southern breeds, but by the revival of the Burzyan bee and its widespread use.
Initially, it was decided to revive the production of purebred Burzyan bees in the state natural reserve «Altyn-Solok», which is located in the Burzyansky district of Bashkiria.
The reserve is located on the mountainous territory of the upper reaches of the Nugush river and the interfluve of the Belaya and Nugush rivers with the most elevated central part (Masim mount, 1040 m). The eastern border of the reserve is 8 km west of the village of Starosubkhangulovo.
Altyn-Solok is the largest reserve in the republic. Belongs to the least developed territories of the middle mountains of the Southern Urals. Its natural complex is dominated by broad-leaved European type oak and maple forests with elm and birch, occupying leveled elevated areas, as well as slopes of different exposure.
The location of the reserve at the junction of landscape areas and the low economic development of the territory contributed to the preservation of a rich animal population here, including the Burzyan population of the honey bee and wild-hive beekeeping. The presence of preserved wild-hive trees, spots of amateur wild-hive beekeeping and a good food base provided an opportunity for the state nature reserve «Shulgan-Tash» to put forward an initiative to organize here a specialized reserve for the protection of the Burzyan bee.
The reserve has a scientific and environmental significance, preserves the gene pool of both the aboriginal population of the honey bee and other species of bees, as well as other protected, including rare, animal and plant species. Provides a stable existence of the aboriginal population of the honey bee in the wild, wild hive and apicultural beekeeping. The territory is part of the Important Bird Area of international importance «Interfluve of the Belaya and Nugush rivers». This is reported on the official website.