Demonstration of the ecosystem approach in the “Shirkent” Park

Publication date: 25 August 2017

Demonstration of the ecosystem approach in the “Shirkent” Park

«I believe that a large amount of the misfortunes that befell with people have the reason of the wrong judgment about the value of things»

Benjamin Franklin

In 1992 at the Earth Summit[1] the ecosystem approach was officially announced proposing the strong interdependence of processes and phenomena in nature for better environmental management. These principles derive from requirements of the environmental legislation, based on the thesis that prevention of negative impacts in natural resource use depends on other nature objects and the environment.

However, over the last 50 years more than 60% of world ecosystem services have been degraded as a result of human activity. In this context, a comprehensive valuation is extremely important.


On 22 and 23 August 2017, the CAREC organized the study tour for representatives of national ministries and organizations of the Republic of Tajikistan. This activity was conducted within the framework of the project “Support to local initiatives in the field of environmental management and water resources in Central Asia”, funded by the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway.

The study tour was aimed to raise an awareness of project stakeholders on the results of the economic valuation and mapping of ecosystem services of historical and natural Park (HNP) “Shirkent”. Ecotourism in the HNP was seen by participants as an important and promising activity, which allows not only to provide the local population the alternative source of economic income, but also to develop environmentally friendly behavior.

The extremely rich flora and fauna of Shirkent river valley and monuments of nature and history have great scientific and recreational value and together with the scenic landscapes forms the main contents of the park. Monuments of inanimate nature unite about 40 unique objects. Most significant are track of the dinosaurs from three different time periods, with more than 400 of footprints of extinct reptiles.

Participants noted the importance of clarifying the boundaries of the natural Park ecosystems with the purpose of consideration and further dissemination of the results and experience on economic valuation and mapping of ecosystem services among local communities, government agencies, students and other stakeholders.

As a result of two-days tour, participants agreed on recommendations, the main of which are presented below:

1. It is recommended to involve specialists and funds for zoning the total area, taking into account characteristics of land use;

2. To assist in preparation of documents for nomination of HNP “Shirkent” as a UNESCO World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve;

3. According to the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan # 79 from March 4, 2005, the territory of the natural park have to be expanded for additional 31 thousand hectares. It is necessary to organize discussions with the participation of responsible state agencies and specialists to make appropriate decisions;

4. To improve the infrastructure of the natural park: office, roads, hay roads, sell-out stands, transmission system;

5. Promotion of ecotourism, including development of information materials, maps of tourist routes and creation of tourism infrastructure. 


Project “Support to local initiatives in the field of environmental and water management in Central Asia” aimed to increase the capacity for the implementation of basin planning  in selected basins and to apply economic and financial instruments.

[1] Under the Earth summit refers the United Nations Conference on environment and development, held on 3 and 4 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro. The outcome of the Conference was, in particular, the Agenda for XXI century, Rio Declaration, framework Convention on climate change and the Convention on biodiversity.

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