Saving Vital Forests in Kazakhstan

Preservation of saxaul forests is the most important task of the ecological community of Kazakhstan. The ban on cutting down the plants has been extended in the republic.

Head of the Directorate of the Biodiversity Conservation Fund, Asylkhan Asylbekov said that the saxaul forests play an important role in desertification control. He said that the saxaul can hold up to two tons of sand.

Every year, up to 80 million tons of salts rises from the dry bottom of the Aral Sea. Saxaul allows holding the surface soils and thereby preventing desertification.

As a part of the grant project, 3.64 million seedlings have been planted on the dry bottom of the Aral Sea. For this purpose, the forest service of South Korea allocated US$1.7 million to Kazakhstan.

According to Asylbekov a fine of 200 MCI is imposed to a person who sells old saxaul. Meanwhile, offender can be sentenced to three years in prison for cutting fresh saxaul.

“This spring we planted the trees on an area of 5,000 hectares. Last year 5,000 hectares were planted in the Kyzylorda region on the drained bottom of the Aral Sea. This year we are planting 800 hectares. About half a million of new seedlings may be planted this fall,” he added.