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A Feathered Guest in Daray-Dere

Biologists of the research department of the Koytendag State Nature Reserve of the Ministry of Environment Protection of Turkmenistan are considering visiting the picturesque Daray-dere gorge with a new bird species that has not been recorded in those places before. A surprising meeting took place during one of the recent trips to monitor the seasonal state of the flora and to record the fauna species, which, as a rule, are joined by colleagues from other state reserves and biologists from the Nature Conservation Society of Turkmenistan. An ecologist of the Balkan velayat branch of the Society Hojamyrat Hojamyradov saw the unfamiliar bird while he was on the trip with a group of ecologists. To understand what kind of bird it was he had to take a picture of the fidgety creature that rapidly changed its “position” catching nimble flying food and hiding in dense foliage. Hojamyrat aga and I lingered, trying to take a tolerable picture of the quirky bird, and then for a long time we were paging the ornithological guide to all bird species that inhabit the territory of Turkmenistan.

In the World of Science

The Ylym Publishing House has released a scientific and practical manual Digital System for the Saline Soil Development in Turkmenistan compiled by the team of the scientists from the biodiversity laboratory of the National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna of the Ministry of Environment Protection – Candidate of Agriculture Bayrammurad Durdiyev, Candidate of Technology Kakabay Annaniyazov and Candidate of Biology Olga Arzyamova. The manual is intended for agricultural specialists, lecturers of agricultural higher educational establishments and entrepreneurs and is based on the findings of a study conducted in accordance with the Programme of the Socioeconomic Development of Turkmenistan for 2019–2025, the National Programme on the Aral Sea Basin for 2021–2025 and the Conception of Digital Economy Development for 2019–2025. Scientists offer an efficient method of aerospace sensing of Earth and the use geographic information systems – GIS technologies, a method of digital mapping of soil salinity, along with a salinity chemism classification. Phytomelioration remains one of the effective ecological methods; a hyperspectral data analysis is used to ensure success of this method. * * *


What do you know about rose flowers? Where do you see them? Do you see them being given as a gift? Do you cultivate them? Roses have many benefits that people should know about.

The Legal Framework to Environment Protection

One of the main directions of the state policy of Turkmenistan is environment protection and the ensuring of environmental safety. In this regard, concrete steps are being taken both at the national and regional levels. Turkmenistan is actively building up productive cooperation with all interested partners to address such important issues as improving the environment of the Aral Sea region, preserving the Caspian Sea and adapting to climate change. When implementing projects in this area, our country seeks to use the existing solid experience and creative potential for the common good. As part of the practical steps taken to implement the environmental strategy, special attention is paid to the creation of a modern legal framework in this area. Under the leadership of the esteemed President, in the context of large-scale legal reforms, a scientific and systematic approach to the legislative framework for environment protection has been ensured.

Mountain “Glass”

The Great Balkhan mountain range, stretching for 80 km in length and 20 km in width, even with all its “compactness” in comparison with other mountain systems of the country, looks massive for the flat steppe surrounding it from all sides. The mountains are high enough (1,880 m above sea level), and when it is already warm at the foot by April, there may still be snow cover at the top. Their steep slopes with a large number of long and short gorges, intricate in their trajectory, with juniper thickets, up to the flat plateau of the upper tier, are difficult to pass and little explored. The mountains are made up of limestone and sandstone massifs, which are covered with grey soils, which explains the abundant vegetation cover. Limestone, depending on impurities, has a different density and, in interaction with precipitation, melt and mudflows, forms canyons of fanciful shape, steep chinks and intricate terrain. Karst sinkholes, niches and recesses in the calcareous mantle of rocky slopes, which, with a certain projection of chiaroscuro and the presence of a share of imagination, create a relief performance: scenery paintings of a pandemonium of various fairy-tale heroes and monsters. It is difficult to take your eyes off this phantasmagoria. The presence of limestone is a sign that the Balkhan Mountains are a product of marine deposits of the Palaeozoic era that underwent mount

An Old-Timer among Trees

People say about a wise, generous and kind person, “Shady like a plane tree”, drawing an analogy with the tree species of the same name. Another name, Chinar, is a popular female name in the countries of the East. On the territory of Turkmenistan, Oriental Plane – one of the 10 species found in the countries of Central Asia – grows. The tree grows along the banks of mountain rivers and streams and is part of the mixed forests of low mountains and gorges. The plane tree can be several thousand years old, because once planted a thin stem grows into a tree giant in a few centuries. The time of planting is already forgotten long ago and no one remembers the name of the planter, but the tree will give shade and coolness to people for many years to come. Out of respect for the ability of the plant to stand for centuries, people protect centuries-old plane tree groves, and individual old-timers who have reached impressive sizes are revered as sacred, they are given names associated with ancient parables or legends.


EXPLORING ACTIVITIES AND CREATING MEMORIES Summer vacations present an ideal opportunity to explore new places and immerse ourselves in different cultures. Traveling allows us to broaden our perspectives, learn about diverse traditions, and create lasting memories.

Transboundary Dialogue on Climate

The participants of the 4th meeting of the Regional Working Group on the development of a Regional Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change in Central Asia under the Green Central Asia initiative finalised the text of the Strategy, taking into account all the comments and proposals received from the Central Asia states. The Green Central Asia Initiative has been implemented by the German Society for International Cooperation since 2020 and is part of the activities of the Federal Republic of Germany on climate change and security within the framework of the UN and the EU Strategy on Central Asia. The Green Central Asia Initiative aims to develop a political dialogue and consequently create better access to information and data in order to enable countries to assess the impact of climate change more accurately and to develop cooperative preventive measures. The working group members from each Central Asian country attended the meeting in a hybrid format, which took place on July 4-5. These are representatives of the foreign ministries of the Central Asian states, industry ministries, government agencies/committees, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the Interstate Commission for Sustainable Development. The draft Strategy agreed at this stage will be submitted to the countries for final approval and, as planned, the countries will present it at the 28th Conferen

Resin from Mountain Caves

This natural resinous mixture of organic and inorganic substances can be found in rock crevices, where it occurs and accumulates in the form of films, “plugs” and outgrowths mixed with sand and pebbles. It is called mumijo; it is the most ancient medicament of natural origin, known in oriental medicine for more than 3,000 years. Its origin has long remained a mystery, most naturalists and now cannot come to a common “denominator”, believing that it is a product of the vital activity of animals and plants. This natural medicinal material is used in animal husbandry as an immunomodulator that help prevent and treat various diseases. Let’s turn to ancient sources. Aristotle, who lived in the 4th century BC, described the medicinal properties of mumijo and how to test its quality. A Central Asian encyclopaedist Al-Biruni (973-1048) writes, “Mountain resin in some respects is identical to amber and aromatic resins. It is a gum that flows from a certain rock in the mountains, and no one knows where its source is. I was in one village and asked about it, and they told me that they go up to hard-to-reach places, look for it and there they find it stuck to stones in the same way as gum grows onto a tree.” A renowned healer Abu Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037) notes, “Mumijo has the same strength and the same nature as zift (asphalt) and bitumen mixed together, but it is more perfect a

On the Garabogazgol Expanses

The Caspian region is an endless expanse of sandy areas, saline to varying degrees, the eolian (“Eol” from ancient Greek is the god of sands) material of which was brought by the wind from the side of the Chilmammetkum sands, plateaus, or kyrs with gypsum outcrops, table-like uplands, depressions with saline lands and rocky geological formations. On top of the continental strata, there is a layer of soil of various thickness, the mechanical structure of which determines the composition and condition of the vegetation. The territories directly adjacent to the Caspian Sea and the Garabogazgol Bay differ in their original, unique landscapes. Their look cannot be confused with other parts of the Karakum Desert – the endlessly stretching plains are unique and unusual for the eye, it is difficult to capture so much space and the high sky! When you visit those places with scientific assignments, doing your usual geobotanical work, you never get tired of admiring the landscapes, in which you can always find something new for yourself, some key element of the area. This little-explored region can be attractive to the tourism sector, its harsh beauty will be appreciated by those who are not afraid to get away from the noise of paved roads. And although there are not so many historical sites, there are plenty of monuments that nature has created, the incredible beauty of which is br

About spring...

When one flower blooms, spring awakens everywhere.

Spring planting campaign launched in Turkmenistan

«7/24. tm», № 13 (148), 27.03.2023. On March 18, the spring tree planting campaign was launched in Turkmenistan. President Serdar Berdimuhamedov took part in the tree planting action.

Mount Iron

The natural complex of the Great Balkhan ridge is of great interest to biologists, local historians, geologists and tourists. This is a grandiose combination of many large and small canyons and long talus, gently sloping and steeply falling, up to vertical cliffs of a linear and stepped nature a hundred or more metres high, open “circuses” at the beginning of some gorges, sharp ridges, rocky “glasses” – vertical multi-metre cylindrical gullies created by relict water flows, karst caves and holes. Among such a variety of forms of mountain formation are amazing monuments of nature. So, in the chain of the western spur of the central ridge at the beginning of the Duz Mergen tract, there is a mountain, which the people aptly call iron. This is a limestone layer steeply “falling” to the south with an angle of incidence of up to 40°, stretching for almost a kilometre. From a distance, the blade-like ridge resembles an iron standing on the ground. But there is a second correspondence, which more vividly meets the name.

About the Magic Power of Plants

The medicinal properties of plants have been known for many centuries and have been successfully used in folk medicine, prolonging human life. The Turkmen land is rich in healing flora and people studying it. Pharmaceutical folk knowledge is supplemented by legends about the magic power of cult plants, sometimes created on the verge of superstition. Such “evidence” can be found in ancient legends, fascinatingly told by the ethnographer Sergei Demidov in the book Plants and Animals in the Legends and Beliefs of the Turkmen. It cites little-known sacred stories. The legend about bagshy Baba Gambar, the patron of all singers and musicians, whose life to some extent echoes the fate of the Populus pruinosa, or toraňňy, called “dutar gullagy” by the Ersary tribe, sounds exciting. According to the established tradition, anyone who wanted to become a professional singer or performer of melodies had to perform the song Şahy-Merdan in a certain sanctuary, playing the musical instrument, and then to stay in that place until morning. Only selected subjects in the dream state could see the images of a lion and a snake. Before those who did not succumb to fear, Gambar himself appeared and served him a drink. Here it was necessary not to blunder – to drink everything completely to become a singer, or to pour everything onto hands to become a musician. Another tree of Populus pruinosa

“I want to see Dehistan…”

Next year, the world will celebrate the 300th birth anniversary of the outstanding Turkmen poet and thinker of the East Magtymguly Pyragy. Preparations for the upcoming anniversary of international importance are the focus of attention of the President of Turkmenistan Arkadagly Serdar. In this regard, the interest in the rich historical, cultural and creative heritage of the poet, whose life is inextricably linked with Magtymguly and Etrek etraps in the Balkan velayat is growing. There is a well-known saying that that every hare has a dear hill, which, in particular, the poet writes about in his autobiographical poems.

Mountains on the Plain

The Balhan Mountains – Great and Small – are often called “mountain islands” due to their isolation, they look like that from a bird’s eye view: two huge stone “stumps”, overgrown with mountain juniper that came on a boundless plain from nowhere. These mountain formations are surrounded from all quarters by the desert – sandy, clayey and saline, therefore they contrast with the surrounding environment, which makes these places unique, and need conserving. There you can find natural grottoes, Jebel and Damdam-Cheshme, and the Kurtli-Bil gorge that people visited even in the Middle and Late Stone Age, which is scientific evidence of the earliest human settlement in Central Asia. The Iron Age natural monument is the Garavuldepe cult complex on the top of Arlan, the oldest temple of the “sun and sacred fire” (7th-2nd century BC). Traces of the medieval fortress Duneshkala (10th-16th centuries) between Jebel and Oglanly have been preserved. There, two karst caves with the Lower Cretaceous carbonate deposits – Tuz-Mergen and Lyama-Burun –were also discovered. The walls of the latter are laid up with marble onyx.

New pages of archeology of Turkmenistan

Every year in June our country celebrates the Day of Science. Owing to the efforts our Esteemed President Serdar Berdimuhamedov all branches of science of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan develop intensively. In this regard, both compatriots and others are pleased to report that the staff of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan continues to discover new and interesting things during excavations, thus replenishing the collection of its museum. Every year archaeological research is carried out in spring and autumn. But the pathfinders of the history of the Archeological Research Institute of the same name, for example, the participants in the excavations, working there, of course, only by vocation, and therefore motivated, found it expedient to end this archaeological season a little later. This is on the eve of the commemoration of the day of science, which has become another incentive to work, which was pleasantly provoked by the newly noticed carefully recovered finds. In a word, for almost the entire first ten days of June, every year [on weekdays, since the weather "allowed from morning until the onset of heat], we complete the excavations. The Turkmen people say: «If you get up early, you would have a good day». At this stage, our institute is conducting more than one field study on objects of retro-culture, once created

Time to Plant Trees

Large-scale tree planting activities, which have become a good tradition of beautifying and decorating the homeland with our labour, started again. Ecologists, foresters and thousands of volunteers across the country aim their long-term activities to put into practice the national motto “Let’s turn Turkmenistan into a blooming garden!” This year’s autumn planting season is a good finish of the year, as most of the three million trees and shrubs were planted this spring. The start date of activities is set each year depending on the weather, in the spring – with enough time before the onset of heat, and in the autumn – when the weather becomes colder. In recent years, deciduous species, including fruit trees and grapevines, have been planted in large numbers, since planting deciduous trees has practical benefits for horticulture development. In natural conditions, plantings in the suburbs and around recreational facilities protect from the winds and provide shelter, food for birds and other small animals and shade for herbaceous plants.

Useful Fruit from a Prickly Bush

In early autumn, red barberry beads gleam in the sun with an amber shine along the mountain paths of the Small Balkhan Mountains. The fruits are ready to be harvested – it is time to store the vitamin tea collection. They taste sour, but they are of great value for maintaining appetite, they have immune-stimulating properties; according to pharmacists, they can lower blood pressure and improve the circulatory system. From these small berries one can make jam, compote, syrup, or tincture. Barberries in the wild can grow everywhere within the middle mountains of the country, including the slopes of the Balkhan Mountains – Small and Great. Recently, they have been trying to grow it for landscaping purposes in a cultural form in irrigated plantations, including land plots of the Landscaping Directorate of the communal services of the administrative centre of the Balkan velayat. However, it is the mountain barberry that accumulates the most healing “powers for health” and, picked in natural conditions, is especially valuable.

In the Expanses of the Karakum Desert

The largest arid zone in Central Asia and the second largest in the world after the Sahara is the Karakum Desert. Unlike the Arabian and other deserts devoid of vegetation, it is mostly covered with tree and shrub vegetation, or desert forests, which form a kind of ecosystem with their natural and climatic features and biological diversity. Vegetation cover has largely retained its natural character, the constant renewal of which shows the adaptive properties of ecosystems and their ability to withstand the effects of climate change. In this regard, work on environment protection, the rational use of the natural resources of the desert and the reduction of the impact of anthropogenic factors continues.