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Repetek Biosphere Reserve, Turkmenistan

The Repetek Reserve, located in the central part of the East Karakum Desert, was founded in 1927, covering 34,600 hectares of a typical sand desert. Its landscape is associated with arid, large, hummocky, ridged sand dunes and valley-like depressions. This is one of the hottest regions in Central Asia and the climate is typical for southern (extra-tropical) deserts. 

Designation date: 1978


Regional network:  

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 251,318 ha

    • Core area(s): 34,600 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 47,324 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 169,394 ha

    Location: 38º35'52"N - 63º16'28"E

    Administrative Authorities

    The National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna at the State Committee of Turkmenistan on the environment protection and land resources

    Bitarap Turkmenistan ave., 15
    Ashgabat, 744000

    Tel.: (99312) 94 11 98

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Repetek Biosphere State Reserve forms part of an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is one of the oldest Nature Reserves in Turkmenistan. It is one of the few natural desert sites in Central Asia with large coverage of black saxaul. The site supports the most complete assemblage of bird species typical of the sand desert of the Karakum.

    In addition to this the site supports stable populations of globally threatened mammals, such as the Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa).

    There are 22 reptile species, two of which are included in the Red book.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    About 350 inhabitants live within territory of Repetek and nearby (2003).  Around 40 percent of the local population is employed in the livestock farming which supplies its products to the food industry. Traditional knowledge is widely applied in the practice of the Reserve in the following areas such as water harvesting in dry climate, sustainable seasonally grazing, prediction of land degradation, land restoration, collecting of samples of medicinal plants and other plants of scientific interest, sustainable hunting, support of fauna and flora at the extremal climatic conditions (drought seasons or cold snowy winters).

    The Biosphere Reserve has been working actively since 2005 to improve and develop the infrastructure and information at visitor sites with accessibility adaptations, new exhibitions and signs. Number of local and international tourists visiting the reserve is increased. Therefore there has been a general increase in interest in and demand for sustainable tourist products and services. 


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    Last updated: October 2018