Results of long-term radioecological investigations in areas with an enhanced level of natural radioactivity in the north of Russia are summarized. Deleterious changes within animal and plant populations inhabiting areas with an enhanced level of natural radioactivity in the Komi Republic were revealed. These changes are expressed in enhanced levels of mutagenesis, destructive processes in the tissues of animals, disturbances of reproductive functions and reduced offspring viability. Compensatory processes, resulting in animal and plant survival under extremely adverse conditions of radium and uranium-radium contamination, were observed as well. However, obvious signs of adaptation failed to be detected. The findings suggest that adverse somatic and genetic effects are possible in plants and animals in the dose range observed at sites with an enhanced level of natural radioactivity. In contrast, different plant species inhabiting an area with an enhanced level of natural radioactivity in the taiga zone of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) reveal a stimulation of growth processes, photosynthesis, endogenous low molecular weight antioxidant synthesis as well as adaptive response. It is apparent from the data presented that naturally occurring differences in terrestrial radiation level could be of genetic and ecological consequence.