Diversity of Plants and Animals in Mountain Ecosystems in Tajikistan

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Ecology and Resources Group, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou

2 National Centre for Biodiversity and Bio-safety, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Abstract

Tajikistan is a hotspot of plant and animal species diversity and endemism and
is important for the conservation of biodiversity on a global scale. The country is located at
a biological crossroads. Species from Central and Northern Europe, Central Asia, the
Middle East, and North Africa mingle here with endemics found nowhere else. The
richness of Tajikistan‘s biodiversity shows up at the genetic, species, population, and
ecosystem levels. There are many relic and endemic species, with most of the components
of biodiversity vulnerable to anthropogenic factors. Proximate threats such as poaching,
overfishing, illegal logging, and overgrazing are causing irreversible damage to
biodiversity in the Tajikistan hotspot. Threats stem from economic and social problems,
the lack of environmental awareness, poor management and enforcement capabilities, and
the lack of transboundary cooperation. Conversion of land use, from biologically complex
uses, such as mixed-crop agriculture, to less complex uses, such as mono-crop agriculture,
has also reduced biodiversity. An example of the problem of biodiversity loss is
simplification of agriculture systems. When a mixed-crop and livestock farm is converted
to a single-crop enterprise, the landscape has lost ecological niches. International donors
have provided considerable support to help resolve some of these issues. Funding
opportunities exist, particularly in promoting transboundary cooperation, training
conservation professionals, building environmental awareness and demonstrating the
benefits of sustainable resource use. Close cooperation across borders will be required for
conservation of unique and threatened ecosystems in the Central Asian region. An analysis
of the present status of biodiversity conservation in Tajikistan and the constraints to
successful implementation of the National Action Plan is presented here. Problems and
prospects are discussed.

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