As the region lies in the area of continental climate, with hot summers and severe winters, and is located at the junction of forest and grassland ecosystems, the vegetation is highly abundant and varied. There is a range of forest, meadow and grassland vegetation. Forests occupy 20% of the territory. The majority of forests are in the areas around Gorodyshchevo, Nikolsk, Kuznetsk, Lunino, Sosnovoborsk, smaller forests are around Zemetchino and Mokshan. Characteristic forest trees are oak, linden, ash, maple, beech, elm, and other broad-leaf species and conifers.
The most valuable forest areas are given the status of protected areas or natural reserves. The most valuable among protected forest areas are: Salov pine wood, Akhuny pine wood (273 ha), Arbekov forest (281 ha), Bolshevyassky pine wood (605 ha), Melnichny wood (192 ha).
Meadows take up 10% of the region.
More than 64% of the region is occupied by grasslands. The protected zone ‘Volga Steppe Nature Reserve’ was created in 1989 with the area spanning 8339 ha. Three other grassland areas have the status of protected natural reserves: Ostrovskaya Steppe (352 ha), Poperechinskaya Steppe (252 ha), Kuncherovskaya Steppe (997 ha).