Environment protection and rational use of land and water resources are the priority directions of the state ecological policy of Turkmenistan. The strategy of Turkmenistan for the nearest future in environment sphere is aimed at ecologically safe and sustainable development and based on the solution of economic and social issues while taking care of the natural resources.
Turkmenistan is located in the western part of Central Asia. In the north it borders with Kazakhstan, in the east – with Uzbekistan, in the south – with the Islamic Republic of Iran and in the south-east with Afghanistan. In the west it is washed by Caspian Sea.
The environment in Turkmenistan is rich and unique. Turkmenistan is fairly called as „the country of the sun“. 250 days of the year sun shines from blue horizon.
The land of Turkmenistan is fertile possessing unique natural communities, tens of thousands species of plants and animals. Many of these species are unique and can only be seen here, in Turkmen land.
At present, there are 9 state nature reserves in the country, conducting the activities on research and conservation of flora and fauna, enlisted in the Red Date Book. The total area of protected areas is over 2 million hectares.
The flora of Turkmenistan has more than 3,000 types of vascular plants. 13 % of these plants can be met only in Turkmenistan. It also has almost 4,000 types of lower plants and fungus. In Turkmenistan, wild-growing fruits, berries, aromatic, flavoring and melliferous plants can be of good in supplying population with raw materials for the food and medical industry.
Wild fruit and nut forests, juniper forests on mountain slopes, pistachio forests, saxaul and riverside tugai forests – it is even hard to count all the diversity of wildlife that can be met in Turkmenistan
The fauna of Turkmenistan is also diverse and unique. It represents more than 700 vertebrate species and more than 12,000 invertebrate species. The most numerous in the region population of Asian leopards, herds of wild rams and pasans inhabit the mountains of Kopetdag and have the most numerous populations in the region; the well-remained population of an onager, not only preserved, but also increased in the recent years, inhabits the Badhyz State reserve. Also numerous herds of goitred gazelle and wild rams, vultures such as hyenas and wolves, numerous species of birds – golden eagles, griffons, falcons, and many others can be found here. Territories of Badhyz and Koytendag State nature reserves, possessing the set of remarkable steppe and mountain ecosystems are nominated to the UNESCO list of World heritage sites.
In desert, occupying 80% of the territory of the country, due to accurate biological balance many species of wildlife are feeling well. In hot and dry climate, plants have developed the ability to survive in extreme climatic conditions by extracting the water from deep soils, stopping the growth during incinerating summer head and rapid blossoming during short period of the fertile spring.
And after all, the nature of Turkmenistan opens the most brightly and in full in climatic areas where there is an abundance of water – the basis of life. In cool foothills, river valleys, at crossings of various natural zones the life is quite active.
Mountains and foothills in Turkmenistan occupy about 20 % of a total area. There are mountain ranges of Kopet Dag, Kugitang, Balhany in the south, the east and the west of Turkmenistan. Moving on the looping mountain road, almost every new turn and new step gives the unique scene of wonderful gorges, hillsides, the Alpine meadows, pure rivers and waterfalls.
The full range of natural landscapes of Turkmenistan cannot be learnt without visiting the Caspian coast. The Caspian Sea is the largest landlocked salty sea (lake) on the Earth, which is not connected with the World Ocean. This is the place of habitat of the Caspian seal, the endemic of the Caspian Sea. On the sea coast such birds as flamingo, pelicans, ducks, seagulls and many others can be seen. All these surprising beauty can be observed at the Hazar state reserve established in 1932. More than 300 species of birds inhabit the reserve territory. The Caspian coast is a wintering place for many migrating birds. The Turkmen part of the Sea is the crossing place of the two most important fly ways of migrating birds in the world: Central Asian and East-African.
The Caspian Sea is the world famous not only for its rich mineral resources, but also for its ecologically clean waters and excellent opportunities for the recreation. The large scale project on creation of the national tourist zone Awaza at the Caspian Sea coast is aimed at the creation of favorable conditions for recreation and conservation of this unique marine ecosystem.