Korgalzhyn (Kazakhstan)

Korgalzhyn, Kazakhstan, is Kazakhstan’s first ever biosphere reserve.  Situated in the northern/central part of Kazakhstan, the site is a complex of freshwater and saline lakes embedded in the dry steppe zone of Eurasia making it an important wetland site for migratory water birds (including globally threatened species, among them the extremely rare Siberian white crane, the Dalmatian pelican, Pallas’s fish eagle). Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve is also one of the clusters of the UNESCO World Heritage site “Saryarka – Steppes and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan”.  The total proposed area covers 1 603 171 ha. About 12 500 people live in the area.  The territory is characterized by elevated plains, hills, lake depressions and marked by an extreme-continental climate. Human emigration caused by overall environmental degradation (unsustainable use of water and biological resources, unsustainable “wild” tourism) is now addressed through a variety of pilot projects such as to foster sustainable pasture management, ecotourism, the creation of fishing and hunting farms, and the demonstration of alternative power sources. 

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