June 26, 2015
ECOLOGY... Uzbekistan presents national report on biodiversity
The presentation of national experts “The Fifth National Report of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the Conservation of Biodiversity\" which took place at the last environment week of the country became a significant contribution to the environment protection. The document was prepared with the support of UN specialized agencies associated with the implementation of the project on planning in the field of biodiversity by the State Committee for Nature Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Project manager Irina Bekmirzaeva answered the questions of the journalist of «UzReport» news agency about the significance of this document and the unique natural resources of the republic represented in it.

- What does Uzbekistan possess? - A kind of inventory showed – people of our country began to take good care of natural resources – entered a conversation Irina Melsovna. – We clarified what resources the country possesses and are now able to report back to the international community in the form of a report of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Uzbekistan joined it in 1995, together with the whole world community and has been successfully cooperating for the conservation of wildlife resources. So, biodiversity of Uzbekistan includes more than 27,000 species. Among them animals amount to 15 thousand species, including 107 species - mammals, 460 - birds, 60 - reptiles, 84 - fish, 3 - amphibians. The total number of kinds of plants, fungi and algae exceeds 10 million, out of which according to expert estimates the share of higher plants accounts for 4300 species. This is what we need to save so that we could continue to live in a stable environment ourselves as well as our children.

- How could such rich variety of representatives of flora and fauna gather on our ancient land?

-Scientists attribute this to a particular geographical location. The country is diverse in natural environment and is at the junction of several biogeographic provinces. Typical ecosystems are deserts, mountain steppes, forests, meadows and the forest undergrowth bordering rivers, numerous lakes and cultural landscapes. Fauna inhabiting these areas differs by ancient and complex genetic links. A great place is occupied by animals and plants from Indo-China, the Mediterranean, and the steppes of Eurasia who penetrated in ancient times.

- What are the threats to biodiversity?

- Direct threats to biodiversity around the world, including in Uzbekistan, as a rule, are related to socio-economic factors. For example, population growth is associated with increased nutritional needs, corresponding expansion of agricultural land and buildings, intensification of land use, the total capacity of consumption and, consequently, increased degradation of natural resources.

Anthropogenic factors have a negative impact on virtually all natural ecosystems in the country. The plains, foothills, aquatic and wetland ecosystems, especially in the lower reaches of major rivers, including the area of the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea region are prone to the biggest changes. Reduction and significant transformation of natural habitat types possess the main threat to biodiversity. Rare and endangered species are most likely to be in the most vulnerable position. Due to recent changes Asiatic cheetah and Turan tiger have disappeared, Turkmen caracal, Turkmen Kulan, Saiga antelope and others are endangered species.

- What do we preserve?

- At present, the priority is to protect the species that are threatened with global extinction, and species for which the territory of Uzbekistan has become a significant part of the habitat of the world\'s population. The priority is also to protect species subject to significant anthropogenic impact in the country, as well as those on which Uzbekistan has signed international agreements and memoranda.

Among mammals such species include the snow leopard, Central Asian otter, Corsac fox, rotary wing goat, ustyurt sheep, Bukhara mountain sheep, Severtsov sheep, Saiga antelope, and groundhog marmot. Among the birds - Dalmatian pelican, red-breasted goose, white-fronted goose, marbled teal, scoop, vulture, saker falcon, white crane, chinned bracket.

In addition, special attention should be paid to the species that are not threatened with global extinction, but those who may disappear in the country because of human impact.

The different categories of rare and endangered species made up 207 animal species and subspecies, out of which 184 are placed in the Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Many species were found only in certain isolated areas. This applies, for example, to typical types of dry foothill steppes, such as Corsac fox, steppe polecat, steppe cat, tolai hare, yellow gopher, small and great jerboa.

Many species of endemic plants, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world are also under threat of extinction. In this group an important place is occupied by representatives of the tulips, onions, Eremurus, astragalus and others. The value of this natural treasure is difficult to overestimate. It is worth recalling that exported tulips from Uzbekistan to Holland in the 20s of last century were used by gardeners to create the country\'s large-scale production of this kind of flowers. Now the Dutch tulips are delivered to all parts of the planet. It must be emphasized that many species among domestic plants also have medicinal and nutritional value.

Uzbekistan is one of the centers of origin of cultivated plants. Hence their spread around the world began with trade caravans. Seeds and cuttings were also exported by travelers and conquerors. More than 60 species of fertile crops grow on our ancient land. They were created by people\'s talent and work of breeders. Among these crops are grapes, apricots, pistachios, almonds, walnuts. The latter, for example, was taken by Alexander the Great during his eastern campaign, and then was spread throughout the Mediterranean and received the name corresponding to his second native land.

Today, we cannot forget the folk varieties and their wild relatives - a unique source of genetic material for plant breeders. In recent decades local varieties have been replaced by highly productive importations. At the same time, they lost typical qualities of local varieties such as flavoring properties, weight, degree of utility for a person or pet, resistance to pests and diseases, fluctuations in weather conditions, - Based on what has been said in our conversation, - said Irina Bekmirzaeva - it is obvious that our country, thanks to its unique nature and the ongoing work on its preservation, has an exceptional opportunity not only to preserve biodiversity, but to multiply it and to provide a decent life for its population due to the unique resources.

(Source: UzReport.uz)


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