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Uzbekistan is an important country for biodiversity due to its location at the crossroads of several bio-geographical regions. It contains a variety of landscapes, including high mountain ranges, wetlands, and the infamous Aral Sea.
Almost 85 per cent of Uzbekistan’s territory is occupied by desert or semi desert, including the largest arid zones in Central Asia: the Kyzylkum, and the Ustyrt Plateau.
Uzbekistan is an important flyway for migratory bird species between northern Europe and their wintering grounds in Africa and Asia. It is also home to many endangered species of animals and plants.
The country’s wildlife is threatened by the chronic unsustainable use of water for irrigation. Water pollution is also an issue, with many fertilizers and pesticides contaminating the natural environment. These threats combine to exacerbate the ongoing habitat loss across the country.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is working on the Ustyurt Plateau, which straddles the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, on a landscape scale conservation project.
The Ustyurt Plateau is a temperate desert, covering an area of 200,000 km² which extends across Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The plateau supports a unique but highly threatened steppe ecosystem, which harbours one of the last populations of the Critically Endangered saiga antelope. The saiga has experienced one of the fastest declines recorded for mammals in recent decades.
FFI is following an integrated and multi-faceted approach consisting of research, education and institutional support for governments and the private sector. We are also developing sustainable livelihoods and promoting transboundary cooperation to address the complex pressures that are exerted on the Ustyurt ecosystem.