|Central coordinates||56o 25.13' East 38o 24.20' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3|
|Altitude||375 - 1,906m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2005|
Ornithological information The avifauna of the southwest Kopetdag includes about 190 species, of which half nest representing 48.7% and 23.6% respectively of the total avifauna of Turkmenistan and 31% of that of Central Asia. In the Southwest Kopetdag there are nine landscape-ecological ornithocomplexes - several rocky-desert areas, low and middle mountains, desertified low mountains, valleys and the upper mountain zone (Bukreev, 1995). Of the 41 species included in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan, 16 occur at the site. Criteria А1 is applicable for Falco naumanni and Aegypius monachus. Aquila heliaca, Circus macrourus and Tetrax tetrax also occur but populations do not currently qualify. Criteria А3 applies for Oenanthe finschii and Oenanthe picata.
Site description The IBA is situated in the Balkan and Akhal regions of Turkmenistan. The site includes the valley of the river Sumbar (from the settlement of Dene to the district administrative centre of Magtymguly) and all of the right bank to the adjoining watersheds (on the line of mountains Tyazetoplan – Yokary - Aydere - Kesedag - Khasardag - Syunt - Isek). The landscape-ecological conditions are characteristic of the southwest part of the Kopetdag mountains, and are the northwest outpost of the Turkmen-Khorosan mountain system. The river Sumbar (right inflow of the Etrek) is the main water source in this area. The valley of the river upstream is narrow with flooded tugai woodland and cultivated gardens; much of the the middle course is cultivated; and throughout the valley there are settlements, farms and associated developments. The length of the river is 245 km (the watercourses connected with the IBA), the total area of the valley basin is 8,270 km2. Characteristic vegetation communities are those of the high foothills, and lower and middle zones of this part of the Kopetdag mountains.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|See-see Partridge Ammoperdix griseogularis||resident||1995-2005||120-200 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||breeding||1985-1995||10-60 individuals||medium||A1||Least Concern|
|Saker Falcon Falco cherrug||resident||1985-1995||4-10 individuals||medium||A1||Endangered|
|Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus||breeding||1985-1995||6-30 individuals||medium||A1||Near Threatened|
|Eastern Rock-nuthatch Sitta tephronota||resident||1995-2005||100-350 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii||breeding||1995-2005||120-300 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata||breeding||1995-2005||200-550 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani||breeding||1995-2005||360-430 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Sunt-Hasardag||Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve||3,800||protected area overlaps with site||3,800|
|Sunt-Khasardag||State Nature Reserve||26,461||protected area overlaps with site||26,461|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||5%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||68%|
Other biodiversity In the Western Kopetdag as a whole, the following have been recorded: 79 species of ants, 23 - lepidopterans, 102 - orthopteroides, 2 - dermapterans, 160 - spiders, 4 - amphibians, 36 – reptiles and 76 - mammals. Amphibians - Bufo viridis, Bufo danatensis and Rana ridibunda are common. Reptiles – lizards - 16 species of the most numerous is considered to be Agama caucasica. Snakes – also 16 species, including the poisonous saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus), Vipera lebetina and the cobra (Naja oxiana). Mammals - 76 species live in the Western Kopetdag. Up to 30% are endemic or sub-endemic to Kopetdag (Rossolimo, Pavlinov, 1982). Insectivores total 6 species. Bats are represented by 19 species. Rodents are represented by 19 species, some being very abundant. 17 species of predator occur in the IBA and adjoining districts. Ungulates are represented by wild boar and rare species such as ibex (Capra aegagrus) and wild sheep (Ovis ammon). The documented flora of the Southwest Kopetdag varies between 1,148 species and 1,266 (Gudkova and others., 1982). On the low foothills typical plants are species of Artemisia and Salsola, Poa sp, Carex sp, Alhagi persrum, etc. At heights from 600 to 800-900m above sea level xerophilous shrubs and trees grow - Palirus spina-christi, Celtis caucasica, Punica granatum, Cerasus microarpa, Ficus carica, Cotoneaster, Cystopteris, Zygophyllum sp, Amygdalus communis, Zizyphus jujuba, and in some area pistachio (Pistacia vera). In the higher mountain valleys, there is walnut (Juglans regia), Platanus orientalis, ash, quince, blackberry and grapes. On Syunt-Khasardag a ridge and in the Sumbar-Chandyr interfluve Juniperus turkomanica and hawthorn occur though scattered juniper trees can be found at heights of 600-700m.
Management considerations An analysis of the threats and their importance for the IBA shows that the main issues are: overgrazing, cutting of trees and shrubs, fires and illegal hunting, all of which cause an irreparable loss of natural ecosystems and habitats for birds. Abstraction from the Sumbar river in Iran is noticeably reducing water levels and promoting the drying of the inundated vegetation, which is further aggravated by overgrazing and direct damage by cattle. In the Sumbar valley the construction of infrastructure associated with recreation, tourism and industrial development (eg wool-scouring factory) is underway. Natural system modifications (dams and water management/use).
Protection status Syunt-Khasardag State Reserve 26,461+ ha. Syunt-Khasardag Nature Sanctuary or Partial Reserve 38,000 ha = 64,461 ha for whole protected area. The Syunt-Khasardag reserve (established in 1978) fully represents the main landscape and ecological types of the middle elevations of the Southwestern Kopetdag dry subtropics. Relict plants such as Turkmen mandrake, wild pomegranate and wild grape occur. In 1990 the Syunt-Khasardagskiy zakaznik (38,000 ha) was established.
Conservation response 1. Botanical and zoological studies have been carried out in the IBA and adjoining areas since the beginning of the last century. From 1928-1930 in the settlement of Karakala (nowadays - Mahtymguly) the Turkmen station of the Soviet National Institute of Plant Growing (VIR) made an invaluable contribution to the study of the unique genetic variety of the vegetative resources of the Southwest Kopetdag. Zoological researches, particularly the avifauna of the region, were actively carried until 1980 by employees of the Syunt-Khasarhdag reserve. 2. 2003-2006 - Project GEF-UNEP-WWF « Projecting ECONET for long-term biodiversity protection » (WWF - the executive organization, the partner - the Ministry of Nature Protection) 3. 2003-2005 - Project UNDP «Improvement of protected areas system in Turkmenistan (ECONET)» (the executive organization - the Ministry of Nature Protection).
References 1. Ataev Ch.A. Reptiles of mountains of Turkmenistan. - - Ashgabat; Ylym, 1985. (in Russian). 2. Bukreev S.A. Birds of Syunt-Khasardag reserve and adjacent territories of Kopetdag (fauna, zoogeography, a problem of protection). - Abstract of a Ph.D. thesis. - Moscow, 1995. 25. (in Russian). 3. Bukreev S.A. Estimation of a role of reserve in protection of an ornithological variety of region of the representation (on an example of Syunt-Khasardag reserve and Southwest Kopetdag) // Reservation matters. 1996. - С.51-64. (in Russian). 4. Bukreev S.A. Ornithogeography and protection business of Turkmenistan. - Мoscow: Biodiversity conservation Center, 1997. – 156 p. (in Russian). 5. Gudkova E.P., Seyfullin E.M., Chopanov P.Ch. Abstract of flora of the Western Kopetdag. The Nature of the Western Kopetdag. - - Ashgabat: Ylym, 1982. - С.38-119. (in Russian). 6. Dlusskiy G.M., Zabelin S.I. 1985. Fauna of ants (Hymeropteta, Formictidae) of basin Sumbar river (southwest Kopetdag). // Vegetation and fauna of the Western Kopetdag. - - Ashgabat: Ylym. - 208-246. (in Russian). 7. Red Data book of Turkmenistan. - Vol.1. - - Ashgabat: Turkmenistan, 1999. – 368 p. (in Russian). 8. Kryzhanovsky O.L. Structure and an origin of ground fauna of Central Asia. – Мoscow. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1965. - 420. (in Russian). 9. Lavrov A.P. Soils. // Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. - Ashgabat: Turkmen Soviet Encyclopedia. 1984.- 45-51. (in Russian). 10. Polozov S.A. Birds of Southwest Kopetdag // The Nature of the Western Kopetdag. - - Ashgabat: Ylym. 1982. - 158-202 p. (in Russian). 11. Polozov S.A., Pereladova O.B. 1990. Syunt-Khasardag reserve. // Reserves of USSR. Reserves of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. – Мoscow. 152-162 p. (in Russian). 12. Rossolimo O.L., Pavlinov I.Ya. Mammals of the Western Kopetdag. The Nature of the Western Kopet Dagh. - - Ashgabat: Ylym, 1982. - 203-228 p. (in Russian). 13. Fet V.Ya., Kamahina G.L. Vegetation of the Western Kopetdag. The Nature of the Western Kopet Dagh. - - Ashgabat: Ylym, 1982. - 32-37p. (in Russian). 14. Chernyahovskiy M.E. Orthopteroid insects of the Western Kopetdag. // Vegetation and fauna of the Western Kopetdag. - Ashgabat: Ylym.1985. - 262-271. (in Russian).
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