Building peace in the minds of men and women

Markakol Biosphere Reserve, Kazakhstan

Covering the least disturbed ecosystems in the southern part of Western Altai, Markakol is close to the border with China. It encompasses unique and characteristic mid-mountain taiga and high-mountain alpine landscapes of the temperate steppe ecoregion of Eurasia, home to various endemic species, including the rare and endangered snow leopard and the stone marten. Most of the biosphere reserve’s 2,000 inhabitants earn their livelihood from animal husbandry and tourism, though the latter is in decline.

Designation date: 2022


Regional network:  

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 118 380 ha

    • Core area(s): 28 870 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 28 210 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 61 300 ha

    Location: 48º46'N - 85º45'E

    Administrative Authorities



    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter



    Ecological Characteristics

    The Markakol Basin is a unique geobiosystem of the southern Altai. It brings together the aquatic zone of the second largest lake in eastern Kazakhstan with its ichthyofauna and ornithofauna, benthic bed and plankton, hydrophyte and hygrophyte flora, different types of terrestrial flora and fauna living on the ridges surrounding the lake, diverse in their origin, distribution and ecology.
    The floral diversity of the Markakol Reserve includes some 700 higher plant species from 75 families, which are due to the geographical location of the region, situated on the border of the Kazakh steppes, the semi-deserts of Central Asia and the taiga forests of southern Siberia, the mountain relief and the different climatic conditions.
    The Markakol Reserve preserves a unique gene pool of endemic subspecies of fish - Markakol lenok (Brachymystax lenok), Siberian grayling (Thymallus arcticus), belonging to salmon like fish, as well as subspecies of minnow (Gobio gobio) and char (Noemacheilus barbatulus).

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    The total population of the district as of 2019 is 23,300 people, and its integrated by 61 settlements and 12 rural districts. The main activity of the local populations is the livestock industry.






    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Kazakhstan  
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Asia and the Pacific
    Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

    Last updated: October 2018