More than 30,000 seedlings of wild trees are grown every year in Koytendag State Reserve for further planting on mountain slopes and foothills of Koytendag. Special nursery was opened for this where the studies on selection of wild, fruit and evergreen trees are made.
This work is carried out under National forest programme. Initial inventory of all forests including mountain, desert and tugay as well as on the territories of the reserves has been made. Specialists of the State Committee for Natural Protection and Land Resources, scientists of National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna, specialists of Forest Department and scientific personnel of natural reserves took part in research work. For several year, their efforts gathered big amount of information, which resulted in recommendations for certain territories including Koytendag Reserve. Under the objectives of the Forest Programme, the personnel of the eastern natural protection zone implement new green technologies, work on foresting of the territories where in the past, before the opening of the reserves, ecological balance was partially disturbed.
The Southeast of the country with Koytendag mountain Range, which is the western spur of Gissar Range of Pamir-Altay Mountain System, is distinguished by rich flora and fauna. It has unique forests that form special geological botanical zone. Floristic analysis proves its transition location between the flora of the Kopetdag and Pamir-Altay. There many plants species common for Pamir-Altay, Tian Shan and alpine meadows of Panj Mountain . there are species typical for lowlands of Kopetdag � Khorasan and Turan. Species of northern clay desert grow in the Kopetdag foothills.
It was calculated that 989 species of vascular plants grow on the territory of Koytandag Reserve and adjoining lands. 10 of them were entered to the Red Book of Turkmenistan and 39 are endemics. 220 species of the plants growing in Koytendag are medicinal herbs. All flora and fauna species are protected in the Reserve.
Zeravshan Juniper is the main forest-forming specy of the Koytendag. This tree is mainly spread in the upper mountain belts between 1200 � 1700 meters above the sea level in central and northern parts of the range where it forms juniper woodland.
Total area of juniper areas in the Koytendag is 30,000 hectares while 11,000 hectares of it are on the territory of Koytendag State Natural Reserve. Evergreen Zeravshan juniper is 15 � 20 meters height with 50 � 60 cm dimeter trunk. It is the only representative of the Cypress family in Koytendag. The main value of juniper woodlands is in their water regulating and soil protection characteristics. Stopping sediment drain waters, juniper forests enhance their absorption by the soil, which in its turn prevent the erosion and formation of mud streams. Juniper woods are the habitats for wild animals like ibex, wolves, porcupines, foxes and birds.
Almond is another representative of the Koytendag's flora, which is the main tree of mountain forests. There are two types of almond in the mountains � Bukhara almond and prickly almond. In the Koytendag, Bukhara almond grows on 2,000 � 2,850 meters while prickly almond on 1,000 - 3,140 meters above the sea level.
Bukhara almond turns into blossom in February � March for 20 � 25 days giving beautiful look to the mountains. At the same time, the tree has soil protective and anti-erosion values. Almond has bitter taste, therefore it is used as a medicine. Once the seeds are planted, the tree reach one meter height for one year in good conditions and starts reaping after 6 � 7 years. Taking into account that almond is growing fast, personnel of the Reserve plant it in the mountains to stop the erosion of soils and for the foresting of the mountians.
The Koytendag also has Celtis caucasica, Acer hyrcanum, Ziziphus jujA�ba, Pistacia vera. Care of the nature not always requires special efforts from people but always is very important. Giving life to new plant, we make input to the improvement of natural resources and support of ecological balance.
Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper