Info: State of the Environment - Tajikistan - Biodiversity
Ecosystems of Tajikistan can be divide into six main types:
- Wildernesses and valleys. This ecosystem is notable for its peculiar features which make it distinctly different from the other ecosystems. It is situated in the lower reaches of the rivers Vakhsh, Pianj, Kafirnigan and Syr-Daria. Over the last years, intensive irrigation and development of this ecosystem have taken place, especially on the areas adjoining to cultural landscapes. High temperatures, rare vegetation, absence of natural shelters and other factors made the animals acquire quite a number of appropriate attributes. Some inhabitants of wildernesses can survive without water rather a long time, other can overcome large distances in search for water and food. The specific representatives of wildernesses are reptilians. The specific attention among reptilians is drawn to the biggest saurian in Tajikistan - desert monitor (Varanus griseus ), and poisonous snake - echis ( Echis carinatus ). As for the birds the following species are mostly spread on the territory of wildernesses: larks (Galerida cristata),carrion crows (Corvus corone), sparrows (Passer montanus) and many other. Out of insectivore, hedgehogs (Hemiechinus auritus) are the most specific specie. Out of rodents there is tolai hare (Lepus tolai), and other. Mammals are represented by gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), jackal (Canis aureus), wolf (Canis lupus), etc.
- Tugai complex. At present, the tugai complex in Tajikistan can be found on the lower reaches of the rivers Vakhsh, Pianj, Zeravshan and Kafirnigan. The tugai ecosystem is also well preserved on the banks of the former river-bed lakes, situated along some of the mentioned rivers. Tugai complex is inhabited by many animals. Favorable conditions for life in tugai complex ensure the existence of the most diversified representatives of animal world ranging from insects to Bukhara deer.
- Middle mountains. The middle mountain ecosystem is transitional from the foothills to the alpine zone and includes the valleys of numerous mountain rivers, cones of excavations, mountain slopes of different expositions. The middle mountain ecosystem occupies the altitudes from 1100 to 2400 m above the sea level. Such a wide altitude range is undoubtedly one of the major factors determining the ecological conditions for the species which make the biological diversity of the middle mountains. The animal world of middle mountains is distinguished by rich representation of mammals and birds. Mountain forests and brushwood serve as excellent natural shelters and create beautiful life conditions for animal world. The middle mountain ecosystem is inhabited by numerous insects, a lot of rabbits, boars, badgers and bears. Here you can meet capricorns, foxes, wolves, agamas, and other animals as well.
- Natural and artificial reservoirs. There are more then 1300 lakes and 7 artificial reservoirs in Tajikistan. The lakes of the Tajikistan are mostly located at the altitudes from 1000 to 4000 m above the sea level. Generally they have the square of surface less 1 km2. Almost all lakes on the territory of Tajikistan have tectonic or glacial origin. The biggest lakes are Karakul, Sarez, Yashilkul and artificial Kairakum reservoir. On the south of Tajikistan are situated such sizable rivers as Vakhsh, Pianj and Kafirnigan. As a rule, rivers of Tajikistan flow from the east to the west. Almost all reservoirs are inhabitied by fishes and its forage organisms. The reservoirs are perfect refuges for many migrant and wintering birds. Here you can meet goose, common stern, brown dipper, etc.
- Highlands. Regions of poor vegetation as well as territories without vegetation, situated at altitudes of more then 2500 meters, are related to highlands. Within the Tajikistan, the alpine ecosystem is situated at the altitudes from 2500 m to 5000 m. Short summers, long winters, belated vegetation, relief and other factors have formed specific complex of highland animals. Here you can not the representatives of amphibians. The reptiles are presented by rock agama (Stellio himalayanus), viper (Agkistrodon halys), etc. The majority of bird species are related to migration species, and only few of them are settled species. Out of rodents there are tolai hares (Lepus tolai), long-tailed marmots (Marmota caudata), and other. The invariable companion of Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) and argali (Ovis ammon polii), which are the specific representatives of highlands, is considered to be the snow leopard (Uncia uncia).
- Cultural landscape. Ecosystem of cultural landscape represents the territory which is liable to the modification under the pressure of human activity. These are usually the cultivated lands under agricultural crops (cotton, rice, tobacco, water melon), cities, villages, as well as irrigation canals, roads, etc. Generally, almost 33 percent of the Tajikistan is liable to the modification. The species composition depends on the crops, altitudes, climatic features of territory, etc. The ecosystem of cultural landscapes are inhabited by numerous species of insects, birds, including Indian starlings, sparrows, some species of rodents and bats.