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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: Thomas Schaaf
  General Description   Surrounded by the glaciated Thian-Shan mountain range, the Issyk Kul Biosphere Reserve reaches an altitude of over 7,000 meters above sea level and contains important freshwater resources. The Issyk Kul Lake appears like an oasis in this arid region, covering an area of 623,600 hectares, which makes it the second largest high-altitude lake in the world. One concern here is using the fish stocks of the lake wisely. The lake is also designated as a Ramsar Wetland.
A large variety of ecosystems are represented in the biosphere reserve, ranging from deserts to alpine tundra. The Issyk Kul region has an interesting flora and fauna, with numerous endangered species finding a refuge in its many unpopulated areas. Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) and the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) still graze in the mountains, and the endangered Snow leopard (Uncia uncia) can also be found.
The Kyrgyz people have preserved their traditional culture and in summer many families move up to the mountain meadows where they raise their cattle. About 435,000 people live within the biosphere reserve (2001). 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 last 3-4 years. In this connection, the agriculture sector has become a significant economic branch. The major gold mining company is also working here.
The German Federal Government has supported the establishment of the biosphere reserve since 1995 with the bilateral project ‘Promoting the Issyk Kul Biosphere Reserve’ which entered into its third phase in 2001 and which will last until 2004. After creating the legal basis for the establishment of the biosphere reserve, numerous small projects were promoted to enable the local population to test economically interesting and ecologically compatible measures. For instance, public relations work is enhanced in setting up an information center and in issuing a special biosphere reserve bulletin, called ‘Ak-Kuu’. Other projects concern sustainable agriculture since the management of livestock grazing and the prevention of soil erosion are a major issue in the area.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland system
  Major habitats & land cover types   Semi-desert and desert ecosystem in foothill zone (1,600-2,400 m above sea level) characterized by halophyte genera such as Artemisia, Acanthus, Ephedra etc.; foothill steppe ecosystems; meadows with Kentucky blue grass, sea buckthorn, short-awned barley etc.; Juniper and spruce forests (2,000 - 3,000 m asl.) including Tyan-Shan spruce, Shrenk spruce, Turkestan juniper etc.; alpine and sub-alpine meadows (2,600 - 4,000 m asl.); high mountain syrt zone (high mountain tundra, 2,700 - 3,500 masl.) characterized by feather grass, fescue, meadow grass etc.; water ecosystems (Issyk Kul Lake, mountain rivers); forestry systems; pasture land; mining; agroecosystems, settlement areas;
  Location   41°08' to 42°59'N; 75°38' to 80°18'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   4,311,588
  Core area(s)   145,072 (of which freshwater: 16,678)
  Buffer zone(s)   3,501,516 (of which freshwater: 457,145)
  Transition area(s) when given   665,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +1,609 to +7,439
  Year designated   2001
  Administrative authorities   The Board of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve, reporting to the Ministry of Emergency and Environment of the Kyrgyz Republic
  Brief description   Monitoring on flora and fauna
Socio-economic analysis of the region
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   Fauna, flora, methodologies.
  Socio-economic   Social/Socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Doolotbek Salmakeev
Administration of Biosphere reserve Issyk-kul
Isanova str. 105
  Telephone   (996) 312 611741
  Fax   (996) 312 611742
  Web site  

Last updated: 08/11/2002

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