Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Kyrgyzstan is a mostly mountainous country, and covers a vast array of climatic habitats, ranging from polar to subtropical to temperate ecosystems, and providing the country with rich biological resources. With only 0.13% of the world’s landmass, Kyrgyzstan has 1% of the world’s known species. Species richness includes: 3,786 higher plants; 75 fish species; 4 amphibians; 33 reptiles; 368 birds and 83 mammals (including the Snow leopard, which is of spiritual significance to the Kyrgyz culture). There are 22 identified ecosystems in Kyrgyzstan. Most ecosystems are degraded, due mainly to overgrazing, logging, poaching and hunting. The severe economic crisis following independence in 1991 has also put severe pressure on biodiversity resources. Serious constraints hamper efforts to reduce or slowdown biodiversity loss including: the lack of a national coordinating body between agencies, ministries, NGOs and local communities; shortage of economic incentive measures; lack of political and public understanding of the role and importance of biodiversity; and complex regulating mechanisms. Due to a lack of institutional capacity, scientific information on the current state of biodiversity in Kyrgyzstan, excluding the most common species is lacking.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
System of protected areas existing in Kyrgyzstan was formed 55 years ago, and there are 85 various objects forming a network of protected areas today; total area is 905 thousand hectares or 4.5 % of the republican territory.