Two national parks of Kazakhstan were added to UNESCO

Two national parks of Kazakhstan, Charyn and Zhongar-Alatau were added to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Both natural sites are located in the Almaty region. The reserves have a distinctive landscape with unique flora and fauna. The parks also represent special eco-and-geo systems. For instance, Charyn is famous for its canyons and relic ash forests while the slopes of Zhongar-Alatau are known to be the place where apple originates. Malus Sieversii or wild apples in the area grow up to 1,700 meters above sea level. The objective of the bio-reserves is to protect and boost the growth of wild apples. Up to 43,000 apple trees are planted annually at the slopes of the mountain.

TIMUR AUBAKIROV, STAFF, FOREST NURSERY:

 - Our work involves the Malus Sieversii apples. We collect the apples from the mountains and grow them from seeds. We are planting the trees in the mountains.

The parks are unique for the species of animals and plants that are listed in the Red Data Book. There is also a forest nursery in the parks where about 20 species of broadleaf plants and conifer trees are grown.

NURBOLAT NOGAYBEKOV, SENIOR STAFF, ZHONGAR-ALATAU NATIONAL PARK:

 - Our purpose is to preserve the assets that nature has given to us. I think that the inclusion in the UNESCO list will open more opportunities for our reserve. It will help open new tourist destinations and create the need to update the physical infrastructures.

The size of Zhongar-Alatau national park is over 350,000 hectares. The park is gaining popularity among travellers. Local tourism officials have created 11 touristic trails in the park. More than 1,000 tourists have visited the reserve since its opening season.

AIGERIM KENES, TOURIST:

 - We are frequent visitors here as we come to the reserve every year. I enjoy being in mountains, because it looks beautiful, especially in summer, when plants are blooming and that makes us feel so small. Raspberries are growing here and we collect them. This place is always kept clean.

The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves includes a total of 10 nature reserves in Kazakhstan.