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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
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
Lands occupied by zakazniks and nature monuments are not alienated
from landowners; instead landowners are made responsible for their conservation.
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
Number of PAs in different years
Current total area (thousand hectares)
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
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 Centre’s 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 1992—1993, 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 1997—1998, 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
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
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
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
- non-observation of conservation legislation; PA management issues
in some regions due to the political instability;
- insufficient funding;
- lack of monitoring in PAs.
Akhmadov Kh. M., Kasirov K. Kh. Tigrovaya Balka Zapovednik //
Wildlife Conservation. 1999. ¹ 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)