Penza Oblast lies in the north temperate zone, at the junction of forest, forest-grassland and grassland terrestrial ecosystems.
The region has temperate climate. The continental cllimate factor grows from west to east. Precipitation is most variable among climatic factors. Annual precipitation ranges withn 450-500 mm, in drier years it drops to 350 mm and in wetter years reaches 775 mm. Draught spells are typical in spring, but also quite often occur in summer and autumn.
Natural landscapes are very diverse. The low-lying, slightly hilly landscape creates favourable conditions for economy. The region’s terrain encompasses the western part of the Volga Upland and the eastern point of the Oka-Don Lowland.
There are more than 200 rivers in the region. The biggest of them are the Sura, the Moksha, the Khoper, the Vorona.
Fertile chernozem soil (black soil) that is predominant in the region (accounting for 68% of all soils in the area) is one of the key natural assets of the region. Most common soil type is leached chernozem, while podzolized and typical chernozem soil types are less common. Major areas in the north and north-east of the region have grey forest soils.
Wild vegetation is still preserved at one third of the region’s territory. Meadow and woodland landscapes dominate the north and the north-east of the region, while the south is predominantly characterized by meadow grasslands and grassland landscapes. Broadleaf and mixed forests occupy 20% of the territory. The forests have not so much industrial but environmental (water and soil protection) and recreational value. The grasslands are mainly used in agriculture. Small regions of pristine grasslands untouched by human activity still remain (Poperechinskaya, Kuncherovskaya, Ostrovtsovskaya grassland conservation areas).
Wildlife of the Penza region is very diverse. There are more than 60 species of mammals, 30 species of fish, and 200 species of birds inhabiting the region. The region boasts a large number of nature reserves and wild game husbandry farms. In terms of human health, the climate of the region is one of the most favourable (temperate climate with moderately hot summers and moderately cold winters, low-lying relief, low bog factor, high percentage of woodlands, etc.).