NEWS

Lake Mollakurban — a Gem of the Karakum Desert

Long trips to the depths of the Karakum Desert to conduct biodiversity surveys are the everyday life of ecologists, but each new visit to the vast expanse of the multifaceted sands makes you sure of the beauty of our sunny land. The route of a small expeditionary group of scientists stretched from Turkmen Lake Altyn Asyr. We skirted round its overflows and stopped several times to take pictures of birds, white and black saxaul thickets that formed thick forests in some places and gorgeously fruiting bushes of the sandy acacia. We were lucky to find an interesting and rare plant in the Family Fabaceae in those places. It is called gulan guyruk, and its scientific name is Eremosparton. The plant is endemic to the Karakum Desert; it grows on the dunes and in the territory of the state nature reserves Bereketli Karakum and Repetek. The Artemisia dimoana from the Red Data Book was found in some places.

Medicinal Kaplankyr

The Kaplankyr State Nature Reserve is located in the north-western part of Turkmenistan, at the junction of the northern and southern parts of the Turan lowland within the Ustyurt and Sarykamysh geographical regions. In the south-east, it covers a small area of the sands of the northern Karakum Desert, called Zaunguz, in the west, the Kaplankyr cliffs form a distinct natural border, which in the east was marked by the ancient riverbed of the Uzboy. In the north, the protected area is adjoined by the Ustyurt plateau. The main territory of the Reserve is located on the Kaplankyr plateau, the vegetation of which consists of wormwood and saltwort communities. The species diversity of the flora of the Reserve consists of 400 species of plants from the families Chenopodioideae, Cruciferae, Gramineae, Fabaceae and Compositae. The upper layer is occupied by the black saxaul and kandym, the second one is formed by the wormwood with the participation of semi-shrub salsolas – tetyr and kevreyik, and the third, lowest, tier is composed of grasses – sedges and various ephemerals. In the southern part, one can find white saxaul groupings, characteristic of hilly and ridge-hilly sands. There, the white saxaul is supplemented by the kandym, Salsola richteri, Ephedra strobilacea, sandy acacia and astragalus. One can often find the wild onion, iris, eremurus and an ephemeral plant from the

Nature – a source of prosperous and healthy life

The issues of the conservation and rational use of natural resources are one of the urgent challenges of our time. Therefore, among the strategically important 17 Goals adopted by the world community as the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development for the period up to 2030, it is determined the following: to achieve the rational development and efficient use of natural resources, the preservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the rational use of forests; to fight against desertification and land degradation. The environmental factor is present in almost all Sustainable Development Goals as an essential condition for their achievement. Thus, it is emphasised that the stable socioeconomic development of society and the life of people on the planet depend on how natural resources are used and on the attitude of people to nature. The search for a solution to environmental problems has become a unifying principle for the world community to revise social values and to form a global, universal consciousness in which people realise themselves not as kings of nature and conquerors, but as its integral part, and therefore must take care of preserving their natural habitat.

Keeper of rivers and springs of the Kopetdag mountains

The Juniperus turcomanica (Turkmen juniper) or archa is a coniferous plant of the Cupressaceae family.

Flowers to blossom in late summer

The Ungernia, an amazing representative of the Turkmen flora, has a break between spring vegetation and flowering. The plant seemed to have realised that it had forgotten to bloom, and gives us beauty at the end of summer – marvellous bells, which, against the background of dead wood scorched by the sun, look like a real miracle. The origins of this special behaviour and the unusual rhythm of life of this little-studied plant lie in the peculiarities of its biology and ecology. After waking up at the end of February, it forms only a rosette of leaves, which reaches full development by mid-April and wither in May. During the summer heat, growth and development “freeze”, the plant “falls asleep” to come to life again in late July and early August. And then, after two months of suspended animation, a leafless flower stalk with an umbrella-shaped inflorescence and funnel-shaped flowers of various colours, from light brown to reddish-pink, appears on the warmed soil, which is no longer able to give birth to green shoots. This perennial herb blooms for one to two weeks, and in September fruit, three-lobed swollen capsules, are formed. Soon, they crack along the valves and pour out the seeds. Therefore, the Ungernia can be found in colonies where young plants grow next to the mother one.

Ancient monuments of the Earth

One of the most interesting natural monuments, Yangi-kala, which means “Fiery Fortress” is located 160 km from town Turkmenbashi. Once upon a time, the multi-coloured canyon was part of the bottom of a huge ocean.

A Long-Time Resident of the Kopetdag Reserve

This spring, a rare individual of the grey monitor lizard was photographed within the Nowrek Çeşme cordon of the Kopetdag State Nature Reserve. This is possibly the oldest animal unit ever seen by humans. The body length of the reptile, which from afar attracted the eye as a bright spot, reached two metres, and it had a long tail. The weight of the reptile, according to visual assessment, could be 30 kilograms. Let us remind that the life expectancy of the “desert crocodile” ranges from 7 to 17 years. The captured monitor lizard was clearly a long-liver among representatives of its species. Its considerable age explained the faded colour of its body. He was not fearful, allowed to be examined, and then it with dignity went away. Every time, passing those places later, I involuntarily look around – looking for this giant and the elder of the protected foothills. There is a glimmer of hope to see it again on the open hills. It looked like a character from a legend, since it is not often possible to see such an animal in old age.

Ancient Water Supply System of the Turkmen People

In the Era of Might and Happiness, the authority of our independent and permanently neutral country that is rapidly moving forward to new heights of socioeconomic development is growing. Pursuing the policy of good neighbourliness in the region, Turkmenistan adheres to the open-doors policy, embodying the principle of peaceableness in practice, and seeks to promote mutually beneficial cooperation with all states of the planet. Along with other priority measures for enhancing peace and stability in the region, research activities and practical actions are being undertaken under the leadership of the esteemed President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to protect the environment and natural resources of the country, to develop the ecological sector, to conserve and enrich the biodiversity of the Karakum Desert and to develop environmentally friendly waste-free technologies. The examples include developments that ensure the efficient use of resources of Lake Altyn Asyr, its salt-water drainage networks and adjacent territories for agricultural and socioeconomic purposes.

The Turkmen Juniper

The nature of Turkmenistan amazes everybody with its flora and fauna. The trees form the green belt of the Turkmen land. One of the endemic trees decorating the mountains of Turkmenistan looking green in all the seasons is the Turkmen juniper. Thinly growing trees of juniper are seen at the 700 metre height above the sea level of the Kopetdag Mountains. There are also thick woods of juniper at the 1300-2100 metre height of the sea level in the mountains. The height of the juniper in the mountains is equal to 15-20 metres. Some species of juniper also grow in the Botanical Garden in Ashgabat. But the colour of junipers growing in the mountains is greener then here.

Wonderful Garden of Eastern Peris

A valuable layer of the intangible cultural heritage of the Turkmen people is associated with unique natural places, each of which stores the events of the past and is covered with beautiful traditions and legends. “Paradise”, “a wonderful garden of oriental beauties, peris” – the village of Nohur has long been awarded such epithets. According to one ancient legend, the inhabitants associate the name Nohur with a Persian legend of the winged virgins, Peris, since “No” and “Hur” are translated as “nine Peris”. According to another legend, the place received its name from “Noh” (Prophet Noah) and “Ur” (swim). According to the stories of the elders living in the village, the righteous Noah and the inhabitants of his ark landed in Nohur after the Great Flood.