The Ladoga Skerries Park combines opposite features. Tall steep mountains and littoral flood plains located in lowlands are found here; sparse pine stands growing on barren rocky soil and dense deciduous forest; tillage cultivated for centuries and pristine forestland located nearby where wolves still hunt elk. Marine birds like Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) and Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) breed on the steep cliffs of the outer archipelago, and Gadwall (Anas strepera) and Teal (Anas querquedula) teach their fledglings to swim in fjords opening into lowland.
The nature of the Ladoga area is more diverse than in the rest of Karelia. The number of rare and endangered species is higher than in other regions of Russia and adjacent territories.
Lofty cliffs (Riuttavuori) are one of the peculiar features of the Ladoga Skerries. The cliffs are steep rocks edging the lake, and whose height can reach 80 m. Cliff Pekanriutta in Makisalo is 92 m high, and an even steeper cliff Kontiosuo located nearby, on Puutsaari Island, is 89 m above the sea level. Many other islands rise by 80 m. The highest peak of the Park is located on the mainland, in its northern part. It is known as Mt. Petsevaara and rises above the old forest and deep lakes by 187 m.
To the east of Sortavala limestone outcrops diversifying the vegetation can be found. Naturalists will discover a lot of interest here. Since south-oriented cliffs contain alkaline rocks, plants not typical of this latitude grow on mountain ledges.Southern heat-resistant species, for instance, Sand Pink (Dianthus arenarius) and Round-Headed Leek (Allium lineare), and frost-resistant representatives of north tundra and southern mountains, for example, Alpine Saxifrage (Saxifraga nivalis) and Alpine Mouse-Ear (Cerastium alpinum), grow here.
Green Spleenwort (Asplenium viride), Wall-Rue (Ruta muraria) and Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster antonina) can be encountered in limestone outcrops sites. At the foot of some cliffs you can often see a narrow strip of abundant vegetation represented by Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) and Norway Maple (Acer plataniodes). Rich spruce forests rise on the northern shore of Lake Ladoga. Starting from the end of June you can find tall (waist height) Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum) and Siberian Lettuce (Lactuca sibirica). In summer, Red-Breasted Flycatchers (Ficedula parva) and Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides) cheer with their singing. In valleys, the bark of huge birch-trees and immense aspens provide White-Backed Woodpeckers (Dendrocopus leucotos) with maggots.
Every visitor dreams of viewing a Ladoga seal - an old resident of Lake Ladoga. Ladoga seals are darker than their marine relatives and usually live in flocks. The population is estimated to be about 5000, of which almost half live in the northern half of the Lake. In early spring they dig holes in the snow or among ice-hummocks. The southern sector of the Park is important for Ladoga seal mating, therefore it should be closed between February and May, during the pup-raising period.
Fish resources are diverse in Lake Ladoga. 58 species of fish inhabit the Lake. The fish population includes 17 families. The most representative are Carp (Cuprinidae) (18 species), Whitefish (Coregonidae) (10 species), Salmonids (Sairaonidae) (6 species). Lake Ladoga belongs to the whitefish-smelt type because the catch of these species accounts for over half of the total catch.