Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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68o 9.82' East 39o 15.41' North
2,800 - 3,500m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description The Kulikalon Lakes have a glacial origin. They are situated on the northern mountainside of the Zeravshan range, at the bottom of the Kulikalon cirque among remains of former Juniperus forest. The three Kulikalon Lakes were formed as the result of two large blockages of the Artuch river waterfall. The lakes are fed by melt waters of the Chimtarga Glacier, with water level peaking in summer and reaching the lower edge of the Juniperus forest. Levels fall in winter.
The middle part of the Kulikalon cirque is located at an altitude of 2,800 m above sea level and adjacent mountains are 3,000-3,500 m above sea level. The IBA is situated 55 km from the district centre, Pendjikent. A road runs from Pendjikent to the valley of the river Kushtut, turning where it joins the river Artuch, and then follows the river Artuch and the base foot of the two blockages which are impounding the river Artuch. The largest blocks of Juniperus forest in the western half of the Zeravshan range are where the IBA is situated. The largest blocks of Juniperus forest in the basin of the river Zeravshan are concentrated on the perimeter of the Chimtarga mountain massif. The area around the Kulikalon Lakes is used as pasture.
Non-bird biodiversity: Fish: Schizothorax intermedius inhabits the river Artuch. In 1968-1969 hatchling Schizothorax intermedius were released in the Kulikalon Lakes. They adapted well and the species is still present.
Amphibia were not found in the IBA.
Reptilia are Ancistrodon halys, Coluber ravergieri and Elaphe dione.
Mammals: Sorex buchariensis, Crocidura pergrisea, Rhinolophus hipposideros, Ursus arctos, Mustela nivalis, Felis lynx, Uncia uncia, Vulpes vulpes, Canis lupes, Marmota caudata, Ellobius talpinus, Alticola argentatus and Rattus turkestanicus. In the Juniperus forests Lepus tolai, Microtus carruthersi, Dryomys nitedula and Ochotona rutila can be found.
The Juniperus forests lie at 2,000-3,000 m above sea level. They are dominated by Juniperus seravschanica in the lower half and Juniperus semiglobosa in the upper half. Juniperus turkestanica creates an elfin wood formation at 3,000-3,200 m above sea level or, in some places, occurs in alpine plantations of Juniperus semiglobosa. In some areas, the Juniperus creates real forest with a high density of trees, in other cases open woodland. Often Acer turkestanicum and Crataegus turkestanica form part of the canopy. The shrub layer includes Lonicera nummulariifolia, Lonicera bracteolaris, Rosa ecae, Rosa beggeriana, Cotoneaster multiflorus, Exochorda hypericifolia and Berberis integerrima. Grasses in the elfin wood have steppe or desert type species with Stipa caucasica, Stipa kirghisorum, Artemisia tenuisecta or ephemeroid Poa bulbosa and Carex pachystylis. Ligularia thomsonii, Poa nemoraliformis and Carex turkestanica grow in the shade under the trees.