Kyrgyz have always had a special relationship with the
environment. re very proud of natural help preserve the
priceless, pristine, virgin, natural resources that it possesses,
Kyrgyzstan has a total of 83 Specially Protected Natural Territories,
(SPNT), with a total area of about 800,000 hectares, which is 4% of
Kyrgyzstan’s total land area. Perhaps, the most famous of
these specially protected regions is Ala Archa – just outside
declaring Independence in 1991, the country has become a regional
leader in conservation issues – ratifying the World Heritage
Convention in 1995, the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1996 and
the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 2002.
There are different types of SPNT – 6 “State
Reserves” (or zapovedniks), 8 National Parks, and 67 Nature
Parks (which are divided into “forest”,
“multi-use” and “hunting”), and
2 Biosphere Reserves – recognised by UNESCO.
NATIONAL PARKS - One of the main tasks of the National Parks is to
organize tourism that is not harmful to nature.
NATURAL PARKS – formed to preserve the natural environment of
the area whilst making it available for recreational activities.
RESERVES – These are the most numerous of the Specially
Protected Natural Territories. They occupy 289,200 hectares —
more than a half of the total area of all the territories. In the
reserves only certain, definite types of economic activities are
prohibited, or limited.
The reserves function is to preserve, or to restore, some components of
the natural environment and they are subdivided into 4 groups: forest,
botanical, zoological, and complex.
These regions are completely exempted from economic activity, including
fishing, hunting, picking wild plants. One of the essential tasks of
the reserves is to educate and enlighten the population about the
ecological care within this territory.
The number of parks is increasing as the government plans to put more
areas under protection. In 2004, plans were announced for the
creation of two new protected zones: Kara Buura in the Talas region and
Uzun Akmat in the Toktogul are of Djalal Abad oblast. In
addition, the Sandash area has been added to the Besh Aral
Reserve. This means that there will be 11 protected reserves
in the Republic – the largest number in any Central Asian
This is a list of some of the SPNTs in the Kyrgyz Republic:
Ala-Archa National Park - founded in 1974 to protect the old Ala-Archa
River and its environs for the sake of society and future generations.
The National Park is just 35 km from the centre of the capital,
Bishkek, and extends 15 km along the canyon with altitudes ranging from
1500m to 2240m.
Besh-Aral state reserve was founded in 1979 in the extreme South West
corner of the Djalal Abad oblast, (right on the border with
Uzbekistan), with the purpose of preserving the unique natural complex
and forests of the Chatkal valley, as well as to partially protect the
habitat of the Menzbir marmot and to protect the natural habitat of
vegetation of Greig and Cauffman tulips.
Besh Tash State Park – in the Talas oblast, 13 km from the
city itself, established in 1996 with 32411 hectares stretching some 30
km up the valley of the Besh Tash River.
Chong-Kemin – founded in 1997 in the Chong-Kemin river valley
and included almost all the forest farms of the Kemin district. The
park’s main task is to preserve the unique landscapes with
their diversity of fauna and flora. It contains a hunting and a
botanical reserves – and the mausoleum of Shabdan Baatyr.
Issyk-Kul state preserve was the first protected territory in the
Kyrgyz Republic, founded in 1948, and now forms part of the larger
Biospere Reserve. It was founded with the aim of preserving the habitat
of waterfowl which winter in the region around Lake Issyk-Kul. It has
an international importance, and occupies some 19,000 hectares.
Issyk Kul Biosphere Reserve - is one of some 338 such reserves around
the world, acknowledged by the UNESCO “Man and the
Biosphere” programme. The concept of a Biosphere Reserve is
of a model region of sustainable land use. To ensure simultaneous
conservation of natural resources, environmentally sound and
sustainable land use and the improvement of standards of living - the
territory of the reserve is divided into four zones: core, buffer,
transitional, and ‘rehabilitation’ – each
governed by rules about what sort of activities are permitted, (or
prohibited). It was also registered in 1976 under the
“Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance,
especially as Waterfowl Habitat”.
The territory of Issyk-Kul biosphere reserve occupies 43,100 square km
or 22% of the total area of the republic, and a large variety of
ecosystems are represented within its boundaries, ranging from deserts
to alpine tundra. it is home to several species of flora and fauna that
are included in the list of endangered species such as: Marco Polo
sheep (Ovis ammon polii) and the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) which
graze in the mountains, the endemic Tien Shan Brown Bears which can
still be found in the forests of Tien Shan Pines; and the endangered
Snow leopard (Uncia uncia).
About 435,000 people lived within the biosphere reserve according to
2001 figures. Tourism plays an important economical role. Tourism
infrastructure is developed in the north part of the biosphere reserve.
New hotels and resorts have been constructed in the recent past
– and more are planned – with others being
renovated. The agriculture sector is also a significant sector of the
economy branch. Kumtor, a major gold mining company, is also working
here. There is a need to balance the needs of the local
population (and the visitors) with protecting the environment.
The first time sections of the Issyk Kul shoreline were designated as
protected was in 1948. However, these were relatively small
parts of the landscape. In the 1990s, after Kyrgyzstan became
independent, the desire grew for more extensive protection, and after
the legal basis was laid, with the entire oblast designated as a
biosphere reserve in a presidential decree in 1998. In 2001 work
started on creating an administration for the reserve and it was
officially recognized by UNESCO. Whislt this is a major distinction for
Kyrgyzstan, it also imposes an obligation to make every effort to
preserve this unique natural and cultural landscape.
The German agency GTZ has given substantial support to the development
of the Biosphere reserve. In addition, numerous small
projects were promoted to enable the local population to test
economically interesting and ecologically compatible measures.
The officiall Ramsar site notes that the lake is “a
unique example of a large brackish lake in a tectonic basin,
characteristic for the Tien Shan mountain range”. It is the
fifth deepest lake in the world.
Lake Issyk-kul provides a wintering habitat for 20,000 to 50,000
waterfowl. The lake area is of primary importance as a wintering site
for wildfowl and for migrating birds. Wintering numbers vary greatly
depending on the severity of the winter. The main wintering species are
Cygnus cygnus, Aythya ferina and Fulica atra. The main migrant is Anas
acuta. There are small nesting colonies of Ciconiidae. The lake is of
special value as reproduction area for species of economically
important fish such as Stizostedion lucioperca and many other species.
Karakol Natural Park – founded in 1997, with a total area of
38,256 hectares including 4767 hectares of forests.
Kara-Shoro - established in 1996 in the Osh oblast, with 8,450 hectares
– most of it pasture land, but containing some 823 hectares
of forest. There are no roads in the park itself.
Karatal-Japaryk reserve was founded in 1995 in the forest regions of
the northern hills of the Kargo mountains in the Naryn oblast. It
consists of three small areas – a forested area and the high
mountain lakes of Son Kul and Chatyr Kul - and occupies some 72,000
Kulan Ata – established by Presidental decee in 2004 to
preserve the biodiversity, rich gene pool of fir and coniferous forest,
animal and herbal wildlife, improve bio-resource protection and
expansion of the protected natural territories in the
republic. It twenty four and a half thousand hectares
consists of two detatched areas: Kulan Ata and Tonzoo. The
reserve straddles the boundary between broadleaf and coniferous forests
– although fir forests mostly prevail, with a predominatly
mountainous landscape – but quite diverse. There
are about 600 spieces of flora – including about 200 which
are only found in Kyrgyzstan – and 200 different
herbs. Some 54 of them are listed in the Red Book as being
endangered species. The range of fauna is also rich and
diversified – but many of the larger species require much
greater areas than the reserve will be able to provide and they often
cross it’s boundaries where they become targets for
Ata Natural Park - founded in 1992, in the Osh oblast, with 1,172
hectares to preserve the local, natural archa forest.
Naryn state reserve was founded in 1983 and coniferous forests, alpine
meadows, and other ecosystems are protected by it.
Padasha Ata reserve in the Djalal Abad oblast, is one of the newer
Saimaluu Tash State Park – was established in 2001 in the
Eastern part of Djalal Abad oblast along the Kurart riber. Most famous
for the petroglyphs found here it is also important for its
Salkyntor State Park – in the Naryn oblast was established in
2001 and covers some 10448 hectares – and is dedicated to the
re-establishment of the Tien Shan Maral (Red Deer), and also serves as
a recreational centre for the local population.
Sarychat-Ertash reserve – in the Issyk Kul oblast –
contains some 72000 hectares of high altitude mountain habitats.
Sary-Chelek biosphere reserve is located in the western Tien Shan
Mountains, on the southern spurs of the Chatkal Range in the west of
Kyrgyzstan, occupying some 23868 hectares, at altitudes which range
from 1,200 to 4,247 meters above sea level.
It was originally established as a “”park in 1959
in the Djalal Abad oblast, with the purpose of preserving the forests
and mountain landscapes that surround lake Sary-Chelek, and was
declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1979.
Over 1000 species of plants are represented within its boundaries,
including wild varieties of many “ancestors” of
commercially important plants, (in particular, many of the fruits found
in the forests here have a high economic value). About a third of the
protected area remains as forest but there are also meadows, steppes,
rocks, screes and some aquatic areas.
Before the creation of the biosphere reserve, selective logging of the
forest, grass cutting and cattle grazing were practiced. Today, serious
problems arise from recreational activities, unorganized tourism,
thoroughfare through the reserve and construction work on the banks of
Due to the protection by the surrounding mountain ranges, winters are
relatively mild and rich in snow, and summers are warm and wet.