Steppe under protection
Naurzum State Nature Reserve is 80 years old!
Tatiana M. Bragina and Evgeny A. Bragin (Naurzum NGO, Kostanai)
An account of the complex history of the Naurzum Nature Reserve is given. The Reserve was established on an area of 250,000 ha in 1931 in order to protect steppe communities in the Asian part of the USSR. In 1951, the protected area was closed down. In 1959, it reopened again but as an area three times smaller than it originally was. In 2004, following a long period of discussion, a reserve area was officially agreed upon that in size (over 191,000 ha) approached that of the original. The enlargment of Naurzum Nature Reserve was the first precedent of its kind in Kazakhstan and set in motion mechanisms for optimising the boundaries of other protected areas.
At present, the reserve comprises three portions covering various natural ecosystems, including fresh and salt lake complexes, various types of steppe and meadow communities, island-type forests, ribbon-like relict pine forests, etc. The portions are located between 9 and 14 km from each other and are connected by ecological corridors which have buffer zone protection status. A short summary of the reserve’s flora, fauna and vegetation is given.
The natural values and unique features of the protected areas were internationally recognised in 2008 when the Naurzum Nature Reserve became part of the Saryarka – Steppes and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan World Heritage Site, the first and only natural area in Kazakhstan enjoying such a high status.
© 2010-2015 Steppe Bulletin
Work bulletin on conservation of steppe ecosystems and sustainable use of steppes
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