Repetek Biosphere State Reserve
Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan, Lebap Velayat (Regional administrative district)
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The Repetek State Biosphere Reserve is situated in the south-eastern Karakum desert, near the Repetek railway station. Its typical landscape is arid, with large, hummocky, ridged, fixed sand dunes in some areas, large areas of sand dune and valley-like depressions. The ridges are 15-20m in height and 8-10km in length. The depressions, which lie adjacent to the slopes of the ridges, are as much as several hundred metres wide and stretch for 3-7 km. Depressions are characterised by lower elevations and gradually pass into small hummocky ridges of geologically older sandy areas. This is one of the hottest regions in Central Asia and the climate is typical for southern (extra-tropical) deserts. The soils have sandy subsoils, and soil-formation ere is very slow. The flora consists of 21 trees, 104 grasses, eight mushrooms, one moss, 68 soil algae and 197 fungi. The rare Ammodendron conollyi, Calligonum sp. and Aristih sp. grow in the sandy dunes, while white saxaul Haloxylonpersicum, Calligonum sp. and Astragalus sp. are present in fixed sands with sedge communities, Black saxaul Haloxylon clphyllum grows in the valley-like depressions. Cattle breeding and grazing are camed out in the adjacent areas. Small villages and stations are located along the railway and road that cross the central part of the IBA from south-west to north-east.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
The Repetek Biosphere State Reserve forms part of an Important Bird Area (IBA) and since 1979 has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve under the MAB Programme. It is one of the oldest Nature Reserves in Turkmenistan. It is one of the few natural desert sites in Central Asia with large coverage of black saxaul (coverage is more then 1 470 ha which make 4,5 % of the Reserve's territory. The site supports the most complete assemblage of bird species typical of the sand desert of the Karakum. In addition to this the site supports stable populations of globally threatened mammals and globally threatened and near threatened birds.
The reserve has an important population of Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) which is listed as Vulnerable (VU) in the IUCN Red List. In addition the site holds migrating globally threatened and near threatened Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus (VU), Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU), Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus (NT), Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus (NT), Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (VU), Corncrake Crex crex (NT), Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata (VU), European Roller Coracias garrulus (NT) and breeding Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (VU) and Saker Falcon Falco cherrug (EN).
It is one of the few natural desert sites in Central Asia with large areas of black saxaul, covering more then 1 470 ha, or 4.5 % of the Reserve's territory. The site supports a complete assemblage of bird species typical of the sand desert of the Karakum, and stable populations of the globally threatened Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), listed as vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List. In addition the site holds migrating globally threatened and near threatened Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus (VU), Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus (VU) -both occasional migrants-, Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus (NT), Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus (NT), Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (VU), Corncrake Crex crex (NT), Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata (VU), European Roller Coracias garrulus (NT) and breeding Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (VU), Saker Falcon Falco cherrug (EN).
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
The Reserve represents the typical ecosystem components of the Karakum Desert with its typical, large black saxaul forests and sands. The Repetek Biosphere Reserve covers a representative part of this ecosystem (including also mammals such as the globally threatened Goitered Gazelle). The site is under the administration of the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan and well protected though currently without a functioning management plan.
Comparison with other similar properties
The site is located in the Karakum desert. It can be compared with similar sites in the Kyzylkum desert in Uzbekistan, the Gobi-desert in Mongolia.