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Dushak-Erekdag – one of the models of the Kopetdag Mountains

This is a remarkable place for botanists – a natural model of the Central Kopetdag Mountains, which is characterised by talus and stony-precipitous rocks, gentle grassy mountain slopes, narrow gorges with steep deep sides, plateau-like mountain peaks and intermountain dry steppe valleys. Its most familiar view is waterless, dry, as if breathing with heat in the summer sultry weather, high mountain ranges, which fascinate tourists with their inaccessibility and unique contrasts. For example, from the burning summer atmosphere of acclive slopes and lowlands with scorched vegetation and an abundance of thorns, you can move on to late spring on the intermountain plateau, where feather grass and fescue and couch grass vegetation blooms for a long time. The higher the mountains, the cooler the climate. Strong off-season winds sway these grasses, as if they passed in multidirectional frequent ridges along a rustling soft shiny base, abruptly breaking off from the edge of the sloping sides of the plateau down into echoing gorges, where insects buzz during the day, and cicadas monotonously “sing” at night. In the desert, summer quickly and imperceptibly absorbs all life and dissolves it in its boundless ocean of sands, where superheated air, dancing in the distance and creating a mirage over hot dunes, makes an indelible impression.

Astragalus Blossoms in the Karakum Desert

In early spring, one can observe various astragalus species blossoming on the sand dunes, exhaling a subtle, exquisite delicate aroma. Less often, astragalus can be found at the foothills, where they do not “climb” high. The representatives of Astragalus alopecias that have fluffy spherical panicles-inflorescences are particularly beautiful; seven species are known, including Astragalus globiceps and Astragalus schahrudensis These large perennials up to 1 metre high with seven-centimetre inflorescences in diameter adorn flower beds. Astragalus macrobotrys with elongated inflorescences with pinkish-purple flowers that can be found in the sands has a peculiar form. The “inhabitant” of the Karakum Desert, Astragalus flexus blooms beautifully; its bright yellow large flowers form racemose inflorescences. The endemic gem of the nature of the Kopetdag Mountains is the cushion-shaped Astragalus podolobus. In the spring, during the blooming period, it resembles an impressive bunch of flowers – a fragrant pink-purple “ball” on the rocks, up to 80 centimetres in diameter. Some of astragalus species are attractive during the fruiting period. Astragalus chiwensis is quite extraordinary; it reaches 70 centimetres in height and diameter in wet years. Shaggy leaves and racemes of swollen beans give the shrub its originality. Astragalus sericopetalus is an endemic plant of the mo

Spring tree planting campaign

«Türkmenistan Sport», № 1 (13), 2022 On March 20, 2022, the spring tree planting campaign was launched with the participation of President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov.

Pro­fes­sion that Gives Joy

The­re is a pro­fes­sion – a flo­rist, which gives a go­od mo­od for peop­le. For as long as she can re­mem­ber, Sa­par­gul Mam­met­ku­liyeva, an ag­ro­no­mist at the green­hou­se comp­lex of the Pub­lic Uti­li­ties De­part­ment of the Ash­ga­bat Hya­kim­lik, has al­ways be­en sur­roun­ded by flo­wers and plants. It was so in Mag­tym­gu­ly et­rap, whe­re she spent her child­hood and in the sett­le­ment of Chan­dy­bil, whe­re she la­ter wor­ked as a mas­ter gar­de­ner for several years and at the foot­hills of the Ko­pet­dag Moun­tains, in a new green­hou­se comp­lex. In­te­res­ting­ly, the love of this won­der­ful pro­fes­sion and in fact, the way of li­fe, was ins­til­led in the crafts­wo­man by her fat­her, who for a long ti­me, un­til re­ti­re­ment, wor­ked as a fo­re­man in the nur­se­ry of the Gök Gu­şak Joint Stock Com­pa­ny. In­deed, fol­lo­wing the es­tab­lis­hed rhythm, Sa­par­gul be­gins her wor­king day by discus­sing the tasks of the cur­rent day with her friend­ly te­am that con­sists of 15 peop­le. And the­re are a lot of them: the checking of how seed­lings grow in special cas­set­tes for sub­sequent plan­ting in open ground, the se­pa­ra­tion of flo­wers by varie­ty and colour sche­me, the pre­pa­ra­tion of pot­ted flo­wers and much mo­re.

Bloo­ming vio­lets and win­ter-sweets

In the flo­wer­beds of city parks, lacy leaves of or­na­men­tal cab­ba­ge and bright frag­rant calen­du­la flo­wers are still blos­so­ming in splen­dour. So­on, in ear­ly March, mass plan­ting of an­nual and pe­ren­nial flo­wer crops is be­gin­ning in the capi­tal city. From now on, every day in flo­wer­beds along the cent­ral avenues and streets, thou­sands of various species of or­na­men­tal flo­we­ring plants, cut­tings of ro­ses and wild ro­ses will be plan­ted dai­ly, ta­king in­to account two months of bright but short Turk­men spring in or­der to crea­te a con­ti­nuous se­ries of flo­we­ring, whe­re the blos­som fa­ding of so­me flo­wers would be com­pen­sa­ted by the bloom of ot­hers. To do this, plan­ting pat­terns, com­bi­na­tions of plants and the quan­ti­ties of seeds la­id in au­tumn in con­tai­ners with a nut­rient mixtu­re are calcula­ted. And now, in the nur­se­ries, green­hou­ses and con­servato­ries of the capi­tal city, count­less Ka­lanchoe, ge­ra­niums, ma­ri­golds, pe­tu­nias and decora­tive pop­pies have al­rea­dy be­en grown and are rea­dy for transp­lan­ta­tion. A few weeks be­fo­re the plan­ting sea­son, landscaping work be­gan: dig­ging and pre­pa­ring the so­il, re­novating tree plan­ta­tions and clea­ring the ho­les from de­ad plants.

Pis­tachio Grove on the Outs­kirts of the Capi­tal

The af­fo­res­ted hills in Bik­rova, app­roaching the sout­hern outs­kirts of the capi­tal, are low: on­ly 200-300 met­res above sea level. The ear­liest and ma­tu­re fo­rest plan­ta­tions are concent­ra­ted on a vast area up to the Ko­pet­dag rid­ge. The hills be­gin to “swell” and “dive” down be­hind the last row of cot­ta­ges – the foot­hill start the­re. The bo­ta­nical ra­ri­ties li­ned up ne­ar the count­ry ro­ad – mul­ber­ry trees, po­pu­lar­ly cal­led “han tut”, its fruits are juicy and full of “cher­ry-rasp­ber­ry” juice, Zi­zip­hus, pecan trees and Elaeag­nus orien­ta­lis, and pis­tachio trees can be se­en be­hind them. If you climb hig­her, you can see that the­re are ma­ny of them – a lar­ge grove, about 50 ma­tu­re trees. The trees are in excel­lent con­di­tion and de­monst­ra­te their unp­re­ten­tious­ness to soils and lack of ir­ri­ga­tion in a se­mi-wild landscape. Cer­tain­ly, the seed­lings we­re loo­ked af­ter, wa­te­red and kept nou­ris­hed du­ring their ear­ly years. When wal­king amongst the trees, the count­ry’s ol­dest fo­res­ter Ak­mu­rad Ata­mu­ra­dov, a specia­list in pis­tachio cul­tivation, explai­ned that the grove con­sists of fe­ma­le and ma­le trees, the fe­ma­le trees be­ar lar­ge fruits, lar­ge clus­ters re­sult

Fa­rab sphinx

in the ni­ne­teenth cen­tu­ry, the Ger­man scien­tist A. Hum­boldt is known to have int­ro­duced the term “na­tu­ral mo­nu­ment” in­to science. It means ama­zing na­tu­ral spots or frag­ments. In the Le­bap velayat, the most fa­mous of them are located in the south, in the Koy­ten­dag et­rap. The­se are, first of all, the world fa­mous pla­teaus with di­no­saur tracks left 150 mil­lion years ago and karst caves with their ama­zing­ly beau­ti­ful in­lea­ka­ge decora­tion. De­pen­ding on the scien­ti­fic and aest­he­tic value and unique­ness, na­tu­ral mo­nu­ments dif­fer in their im­por­tance in descen­ding or­der and in ot­her sta­tu­ses: re­gio­nal, na­tio­nal and local. Yes, such att­ractions do not have to com­pe­te with tho­se that scien­tists and tou­rists and simp­ly lovers of beau­ty know about in ma­ny count­ries. Ho­wever, this do­es not me­an that na­tu­ral mo­nu­ments of local im­por­tance are not of in­te­rest, this is evidenced by the unique cor­ners of na­tu­re located in the Fa­rab et­rap.

In the Feat­he­red King­dom

The re­la­tions­hip bet­ween hu­mans and na­tu­re, which ori­gi­na­tes from the depths of cen­tu­ries, has not lost its his­to­rical and educatio­nal sig­ni­ficance un­til now. This is the cent­re of un­re­mit­ting at­ten­tion of Pre­si­dent Gurbanguly Ber­di­mu­ha­me­dov – a con­nois­seur and expert in the flo­ra and fau­na of our sun­ny count­ry.

At the expanses of the caspian region

The scientific “portfolio” of the National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna has been updated, and the laboratories have chosen new scientific topics for the period 2021–2025. In the pre-winter period, the expedition trips of 2021, which scientists use to study nature seasonally, to collect material and to advance in research in their areas of study, ended. In the schedule of activities of scientists of the biodiversity laboratory of the Institute, the last trip was listed as “monitoring of the vegetation of the Caspian deserts and their economic importance”. Geo-botanical studies covered the Krasnovodsk plateau, the Oktumgum sands and the Turkmenbashi-Garabogaz seaside alluvial lowland. Berdymurad Yazhanov, a postgraduate student of the Institute of Applied and General Biology of the Oguzhan Engineering and Technology University, joined the group of researchers. For him it was the first field experience. The Karakum Desert is contrasting: at different time of the year it looks like either blooming or scorched wasteland; now against the background of a monotonous grey space on saline soils, there are red-orange “islands” due to the presence of annual juicy halophytes – Climacoptera, Suaeda and Salsola sclerantha, which continue vegetating due to the lack of frost. Of interest is the vegetation of the site adjacent to the southern coast of the

Rare Animals in Camera Traps

To take a picture of a rare animal at close range is a great success even for nature inspectors who conduct regular inspections around the areas of the state nature reserves. Sometimes, black kites, vultures, steppe eagles or eagle owls are captured at the nesting site, and a fox searching for food is spotted. The workers of the Badhyz Nature Reserve were lucky to see a leopard tracking down its prey and leaving for a den with two cubs; ecologists admired the dizzying leaps of adult bezoar goats in the Kopetdag Mountains. From time to time, a wolf and a hyena get into the camera traps. In recent years, ecologists of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection have introduced automatic cameras, the so-called camera traps, into the practice of scientific natural history. These cameras help conduct observations of rare, “Red Data Book” animals in their natural habitats, which the staff of the nature reserves could see rarely when carrying out planned research activities and biodiversity inventory. This was partly due to the predominantly night or twilight schedule of wakefulness or great caution of these animals. This method has been used in the Koytendag Mountains since 2013, and it gave a brilliant result – a lynx with two kittens got into the camera trap. Scientists do not even have to dream about seeing such a scene; this animal is very sensitive to hum