20.09.2021

Tugai forest ecosystems in Uzbekistan become a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Tugai forest ecosystems in Uzbekistan become a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Tugai forest ecosystems in Uzbekistan become a UNESCO biosphere reserve

 

On September 15, 2021, the Lower Amu Darya State Biosphere Reserve in Uzbekistan officially joined the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

This is an opportunity to create good conditions for a better consistency of conservation and use of nature. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Michael Succow Foundation and the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Ecology and Environmental protection prepared a draft nomination document within the GIZ Programme "Ecosystem based land use and conservation of ecosystems in the lower Amu Darya River". This project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 2018 to 2020. The project was part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

In the past century, the tugai forests of Central Asia have shrunk by a dramatic 90%. The reasons are the decline in seasonal water availability due to dams and irrigation infrastructure, intensive land use, especially cotton cultivation, water extraction from the river ecosystem and firewood extraction from the riparian forests. These human interventions led to massive soil salinisation, substantial forest degradation and a reduced natural flooding regime.

With the current recognition of the area as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the international community acknowledges the efforts of the Uzbek government in this region, which is facing multiple ecological challenges, including climate change.