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PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS OF TAJIKISTAN

Normative and legal basis

The basic documents regulating PA management in the country are the Acts On Nature Conservation (1993) and On Protected Natural Areas. The last includes the following list of PA categories:

  • zapovedniks (including biosphere reserves) (Category I according to the IUCN);
  • national parks (II);
  • zakazniks (forest, botanic, zoological, complex) (IV, VI);
  • unique nature objects (nature monuments) (III).

In addition to the laws mentioned above, there are the following important legal acts: the Forest Code (1993), the Water Code (1993), the Land Code (1996), Acts On the Land Reform (1992), On Fauna Conservation and Use (1994), On Mining Resources (1994), On Dekhan Enterprises (Farms) (1992), On Atmospheric Air Protection (1996), the Statements On Hunting and Hunting Industry in Tajikistan (1997) and On Inspection.

According to the current national legislation, all the forests in Tajikistan belong to the Category I. In accordance with the Forest Code, all zapovedniks, national parks and zakazniks are of national significance. These PAs are designated by statements of the Tajikistan Government.

Unique nature monuments could have either national or regional significance; these can be designated by authorities of various levels depending on their significance.

Zapovedniks and national parks have the legal entity status and are responsible for management and protection of their areas. Zapovedniks must own their total areas, while national must own greater parts of their areas.

Lands occupied by zakazniks and nature monuments are not alienated from landowners; instead landowners are made responsible for their conservation.

PA Network

The number of PAs, their total area, and the development progress of the national PA network are provided in the chart. Additionally, 162 unique natural objects existed in 2000.

Number, total area and development rates of the Tajikistan National PA Network

Category

Number of PAs in different years

Current total area (thousand hectares)

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

Zapovedniks

2

3

3

3

4

173.4

National parks

1

2

2

2630.0

Zakazniks

17

17

17

16

16

450.8

The first zapovednik, Tigrovaya Balka, was designated in Tajikistan in 1938. During the designation of the first national park, Tajik, in 1992, Pamir Zakaznik, with the area of about 500 thousand ha, was attached to the NP.

In 2001, lakes Karakul, Shorkul, Rankul, Zorkul, lower reaches of the river Pyandj, and Kairakum reservoir were designated Ramsar sites.

Water areas of all large lakes in Tajikistan are parts of zapovedniks or zakazniks: Zorkul zapovednik, zakazniks Iskanderkul, Karakul, Mozkul, etc.; Old Sarezian Lake falls into the unique fresh reservoirs category.

Zapovedniks and zakazniks are managed by the Tajikistan Forestry Enterprise (TFE), national parks are managed by the Tajikistan Ministry of Nature Conservation (TMNC). These authorities execute control over the PAs.

PAs are funded from the national budget; protection services staffed with game keepers are responsible for protection of zapovedniks and national parks.

In compliance with the Statement on PAs, zapovedniks should provide for regular research studies on ecology, inventory, and distribution of animals and plants according to techniques common for all the zapovedniks. Tigrovaya BalkaZapovednik is particularly noteworthy in this respect. Research studies have been carried out there since the 1930s, prior to its official designation.

Tajikistan PAs actively participate in the March for Parks campaign; they conduct events in the frameworks of the Day of Struggle against Desert Expansion, the World Environment Day, and the Earth Day.

Dushanbe Youth Ecological Centre issues Tabiat (Nature) informational bulletin (to learn more on the Centres activities click here), the MOP publishes Navruzi Vatan newspaper, Dushanbe Ecology Committee, in collaboration with the Tajikistan Association of Forest and Fauna Conservation, publishes Barbisabs (Green Leaf).

Most efficient in rendering support to PAs are the following organisations: Tajikistan Association of Forest and Fauna Conservation, Tajik Fund for the support of conservation conventions implementation, and Dushanbe Youth Ecological Centre.

Main PA System Problems

During the civil war, in 19921993, laws in the country were practically invalid and PAs were left without any protection. Research studies were not undertaken due to lack of funding. General political instability in the country led to the situation when Tajikistan received much less aid for conservation purposes from international donors in comparison with other CIS countries.

Situation with one of the oldest Tajikistan zapovedniks, Tigrovaya Balka, is an example of impacts Tajikistan PAs have to tolerate today (Akhmadov, Kasirov, 1999). Fertilisers and pesticides coming from adjacent fields pollute zapovednik waters and soils, accumulate in food chains. The construction of reservoir systems on the River Vakhsh disturbs natural flooding regime. During the civil war, thousands of people migrated to the zapovednik and satisfied their everyday living needs at the expense of nature and the PA infrastructure: people robbed houses and cordons, cut trees, hunted animals. In 19971998, frontiersmen set out a number of control posts without preliminary permission. Some years ago, military field training was carried out at the zapovednik border, which led to cutting of over 2,000 trees, few fires and a number of other negative impacts. Due to the deep energy crisis in the country, illegal felling in protected areas became a common thing.

Ramit Zapovednik is a place of stationing for one of illegal armed band formations.

Current situation and perspectives
of ecological network development

Despite all the negative factors listed above, the ecological network in the country still exists, PAs are designated in all bio-regions of Tajikistan.

In the 1990s, farming areas reduced considerably; cotton is no more the monoculture. This trend led to reduction in soil pollution with mineral fertilisers, defoliants, and herbicides as well as in soil salting, which in turn contributed to the ecological stabilisation outside PAs. From the other side, economic crisis obstructs re-cultivation of already disturbed lands where biota can not recover on its own.

There are proposals on further development of the PA network to ensure protection of key natural areas. Proposals on Tigrovaya Balka reanimation were developed (Akhmadov, Kasirov, 1999), the President of Tajikistan issued a Decree to designate the zapovednik a biosphere reserve.

In 1985, the Central Research Institute of Urban Planning has developed an Integral Scheme of Nature Conservation for Tajikistan that includes proposals regarding protection of the national natural framework. The Academy of Science of Tajikistan, TFE, Tajikistan Research Institute of Forestry and some other designing and survey agencies are engaged in to eco-nets development projects for South-West Tajikistan, South-East Tajikistan and Pamir. The Institute of Geography of the RAS and Khodjent University have already developed a project of the North Tajikistan PA System (Ibragimov, 1997).

The main problems of ecological network development are linked with:

  • fragmentation of natural areas in a number of Tajikistan regions;
  • economic crisis; communities need natural resources to satisfy their everyday needs;
  • non-observation of conservation legislation; PA management issues in some regions due to the political instability;
  • insufficient funding;
  • lack of monitoring in PAs.

Literature

Akhmadov Kh. M., Kasirov K. Kh. Tigrovaya Balka Zapovednik // Wildlife Conservation. 1999. 1 (12).

Ibragimov E. Kh. Basic ecological and geographical principles of PA network development in North Tajikistan: Abstract from dissertation for candidate of science in geography. M., 1997.

Based on materials from
Protected natural areas in new independent states
as the basis for ecological network development
in the Northern Eurasia (M., 2002)

 

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