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Aksu-Zhabagly state natural reserve

Date of Submission: 06/02/2002
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Delegation Permanente de la Republique du Kazakhstan aupres de l'UNESCO
Coordinates: 42°10’- 42°30’ N, 75°15’- 70°55 E
Ref.: 1683
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The reserve territory is representative for Western Tien-Shan province, landscapes of which, as against eastern regions of Tien-Shan, more similar to the countries of Middle Asia and Mediterranean. Ridges of the reserve are characterized by predominance of hillside, deeply splitted relief which had been developed in Paleozoic soils; chalkstones, shales and quartzites are widespread here. River valleys are narrow and deep, very often in the form of canyons. The feature of vertical zonality is total absence of spruce forests: the girdle of softwood forest is represented by tall archas, specific for mountains of Pamir and Altai. Permanent snow line in mountains of the reserve is located at the altitude of 3300 m above sea level. Above this horizontal boreal declines of mountains are covered by snowfields, and in hollows glaciers lie, upwards the rivers Dzhabagly and Kshi-Aksu there are 49 glaciers with the square of 12.5 sq. km. (Vilesov, 1976). All glaciers of the reserve are pendulous, some of them form beautiful ice cascades - for example, upwards the river Dzhabagly. Climate The prevailing influencing on Western Tien-Shan province is rendered by atmospheric processes, typical for the Mediterranean sector (Climate of Kazakhstan, 1959). In general the climate is sharply continental. Cool and snow winters takes turn of hot and dry summer. The diurnal temperature variations are also high: in mountains even in summer light morning frosts occur. Average annual temperature in piedmonts is +7,60 ?, average temperature of the most cold month (January) - 4.90?, the warmest (July) – 21.60?. In foothills absolute frostless season is equal to 119 days. Precipitations falls predominantly in winter and spring Flora There are 1679 species of vascular and primitive plants. Vascular plants have 1274 species of 470 kinds and 70 families are registered. In a quantitative aspect flora of the reserve is representative enough, as far as it includes 50 % of flora of western Tien Shan in general and 25 % of flora of mountainous province of Central Asian. Its typicalness for these subdivisions is proved to be true in particular by interrelation of predominating families and kinds. The uniqueness of flora is proved to be true by a high extent of endemism. In terrain of the reserve and its adjacent neighborhoods there are 19 - 64 kinds, precinctive for mountainous Middle Asia Province, including two (Pseuderemostachys, Rhaphidophyton) of 10 monotype precinctive kinds of Kazakhstan. Among included into the Red Book there are 30 species. The vegetative integument is subject to the laws of vertical zone distribution. Following the classification of V.N. Pavlov (1980), there are 4 zones: 1) low-mountainous zone of ephemeral semidesert - up to 800 (1300 m above sea level); 2) medium-mountainous zone of Turan cereal motley grass steppes (semi-savannah) - (800) 1300-2000 (2500) m; 3) alpestrine - (2000) 2200-2800 (3200) m; 4) Alpine above 2800 (3200) m above sea level. Fauna On a rather small terrain of the reserve animals, typical for various landscapes of Europe, boreal Africa, Western and Central Asia, are living. Such composite combination various on an origin of species of beasts, auks and others animal is connected(linked) to a composite and original history of a fauna Western Tien Shan. However fauna of the reserve is not a mechanical admixture of all enumerated heterogeneous members. ?????? perennial studies of the zoologists it is established, that the fauna of the reserve is typical for Western Tien Shan with the special predominance of the Mediterranean forms. The special attention within the context of conservation of a global biodiversification and gene pool should be paid to two species of mammalian - snow bars, included into the register of endangered species of IUCN, Convention CITES, and endemic of Western Tien Shan – marmot (Marmota menzbieri Kaschkarov, 1925). Concerning the former one the international nature protection organization perform now wide actions, one of them is the project on salvation of snow bars in Central Asia; the significant place in this program is given to the reserve Aksu-Zhabagly and to adjacent terrains. The second specie (Marmota menzbieri) lives near to the reserve, at its southwest boundaries and now is threatened to disappear. The only opportunity to preserve this specie is to protect it by including the areal of marmot into terrain of the reserve Aksu-Zhabagly. And it is stipulated by the management - plan, the project of which is prepared within the framework of the trans-boundary project GEF on conservation of a biodiversification of Western Tien Shan in 1998. Besides the above-stated species, diverse species of animal, included into in the Red Books of Kazakstan, World Union of Nature Protection (IUSN) and Convention CITES – Tien Shan and Kara-Tau subspecies of mountain goat, Tien Shan Brown bear live here. Presence of historical and cultural objects The high-altitude gallery of petroglyphs in the mountain valley Kaskabulak is of especial interest. Here at the altitude of more than 3000 m. above sea level, in under-top foundation pit on petrous placer accumulations covered by glossy black sunburn there about 2 thousand figures figuring mainly animals and the stages of hunting. Reasons for inclusion of the object into the nomination “Remarkable World Legasy”. The terrain of the reserve Aksu-Zhabagly is most beautiful natural site, representatively having a unique biological and landscape diversification of Western Tien Shan with its richest floristic composition and fauna. At the terrain of the reserve Aksu-Zhabagly there are 1274 species of vascular plants, that is about 45,3 % of flora of whole Western Tien Shan. Among 64 precinctive Central Asian kinds here are 17, i.e. 26,6 % and 2 precinctive kinds of Kazakhstan - Raphydophyton Iljin, Pseudoeromostachys M.Pop. In the whole Western Thien-Shan 16 phylums of green are registered, 14 of which are present terrain of the reserve Aksu-Zhabagly. In a small terrain of the reserve a rich diversification of fauna is present, among which in there are species, typical for various landscapes of Europe, Boreal Africa, Western and Central Asia. In terrain of the reserve 238 views of auks, 42 mammalian, 9 species of reptiles, 2 species of amphibians and 2 species of fishes are known. The fauna is invertebrate – among 5750 of forecast species to the present time 2124 species are also registered. All this testifies on representativeness of flora and fauna of the given terrain for all Western Tien Shan. Besides here are discovered unique sites of upper Jurassic flora and faunas. All this, undoubtedly, improves value of biological and landscape diversification from the point of view of nature protection.