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The nomination "Tugay forests of the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve" was transferred to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

The dossier of the nomination of the natural site of the Republic of Tajikistan "Tugay forests of the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve", prepared with the assistance of the Natural Heritage Protection Fund, was registered at the World Heritage Centre on January 21.

The Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve, established in 1938, is located in the interfluve area of the Vakhsh, Panj and Kafirnigan rivers, at the border of Afghanistan, where the largest river in Central Asia – the Amu Darya – takes its origin. The protected area of 49,786 hectares covers a vast area of tugay ecosystems along the banks of the Vakhsh River, the territory of the hilly sandy Kashka-Kum desert, the Buritau eminence, as well as the low mountains of the southern spurs of the Aruktau range – the Hodja-Kaziyon mountains.

The Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve is nominated based on two criteria of "outstanding universal value" - ix (outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes) and x (biological diversity / threatened species)

Criterion (ix): The natural complex of Tigrovaya Balka is an outstanding example of continuous ecological and biological processes taking place in the evolution and development of desert-tugay biocenoses. The reserve has an amazing variety of landscapes with coexisting jungles, sandy and saline semi-deserts, piedmont semi-savannas, and various wetlands, dynamically adapting to changes in the hydrological regime of the territory.

Criterion (x): The Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve is the last large reserve on the planet that preserves the natural communities of Asiatic poplar tugay flora and fauna that have not been significantly suffered from anthropogenic impact. The reserve serves as a genetic reservation for rare and endangered plant and animal species inhabiting its territory, making a significant contribution to the preservation of the region’s biodiversity.

In the Tigrovaya Balka, the largest in Central Asia forest area of the Asiatic poplar or the blue poplar is preserved, which in the community with the dzhida or the oleaster, the multiramose tamarix, and others, occupies the floodplain and above-floodplain river terraces of the reserve. In addition to the relict ecosystems, the unique objects preserved in the reserve include animals from the Red List of the IUCN, such as the Bactrian deer, the goitered gazelle, the Persian leopard, and the striped hyena.

The nomination was prepared by the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Environmental Protection Committee under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan with the support of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty, the World Wildlife Fund and the Natural Heritage Protection Found.

The issue of the inscription of the "Tigrovaya Balka" on the World Heritage List will be considered during the 46th session of the World Heritage Committee in the summer of 2023, after a 1.5-year evaluation cycle of the IUCN / WH Centre.

Nomination "Tugay forests of the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve"