An analysis is made of 100 years of development of specially protected natural areas of Siberia. Attention is centered on the characteristic features of territorial nature conservation which are determined by the dependence on the political, economic and managerial factors. The analysis revealed the periods of formation, decline, opposite trends and negative dynamics in the establishment of new protected natural areas. Using the history of reserve management and studies of Russia as an example, it is shown that most innovations were tested in Siberia, starting from the establishment of Russia’s first state zapovedniks and zakazniks and ending with the setting up of joint directorates of specially protected natural areas in recent years. It is pointed out that the approaches in substantiating the system of protected natural areas were characterized by fundamental differences: from the organization of “pristine benchmarks” of nature with the ideology of total non-interference, to “farm zapovedniks” for breeding valuable hunting animals and active maintenance of the population of rare species accompanied by measures to eliminate “harmful” species. The rivalry between the geographical and biocentric approaches is described: in the former case, the preservation of typical natural systems was dominant; in the latter case, the preservation of rare and endangered species was paramount. It is concluded that the unevenness of distribution of zapovedniks, zakazniks and national and natural parks depends on the degree of development and exploration of a relevant territory, the likelihood of a total disappearance of the most valuable areas, and on the existence of lands of indigenous ethnic groups. It is demonstrated that the process of development of the system of territorial nature conservation is governed by the administrative initiative, consideration for the characteristics of a region’s economic development and changeable institutional conditions as well as by the factors of the country’s foreign and internal policy.Keywords: zapovednik (reserve), zakaznik (wildlife refuge), national park, periods of development of territorial nature conservation.