Ysyk-Köl Biosphere Reserve, Kyrgyzstan

Sacred Sites Help Improve Conservation in Protected Areas
Ysyk Kol, Republic of Kyrgyzstan

Ysyk-Köl Biosphere Reserve, Kyrgyzstan

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View the complete CCRN’s Kyrgyzstan Community Story as a PDF

The Ysyk-Köl Biosphere Reserve (YKBR), the largest protected area in Kyrgyzstan, gained international UNESCO designation in 2001. The YKBR consists of a number of ecological subzones from valleys to high mountains. It is home to 335 species, most of them birds (267), with 39 included in the Red Book of Kyrgyzstan. Lake Ysyk-Köl, which is considered a sacred lake by local people, is a keystone element within the YKBR. Currently, two models of conservation are practiced in the YKBR, formal conservation by biosphere reserve managers, and community conservation associated with sacred sites . However, community members feel that the conservation strategies in the YKBR have been largely ineffective due to lack of collaboration between local communities and biosphere reserve managers, lack of community support for YKBR conservation strategies and activities, and neglect of traditional ecological knowledge by biosphere reserve managers. Linking the two models of conservation currently practiced in the Ysyk-Köl Biosphere Reserve could improve overall conservation by providing a complementary set of incentives for conservation, imparting traditional ecological knowledge to future generations, and improving communication between interested parties.

See below for the Kyrgyz language abstract for this community story, “Ысык-Көл биосфералык аймагы, Кыргызстан,Табигый коруктардагы жаратылышты сактоого касиеттүү жердердин кошкон салымы.”

Kyrgyz language abstract