A Country Opened its Doors to Nature Conservation

Although hardly noticed by the international community, Turkmenistan has slowly become more amenable to co-operation with conservation projects. A new government is willing to hand over the country’s natural wealth to global conservation efforts.

The government of Turkmenistan also shows an interest in developing a network of national parks. These parks are not only meant to insure the natural biodiversity of the country, but also to support further environmental education and to create a basis for eco-tourism. The country’s eight “Zapovedniki“ – strictly protected nature reserves from the Soviet era – may serve as a suitable basis for this network.

The first two national parks will be located near the Iranian border in the Kopetdag mountains, one of the country’s biggest biodiversity hotspots. The reserves offer habitats for leopards, hyenas, wild goats, and the Turkmen mouflon. Over 2,000 species of plants occur in the area, including 200 endemics.


Under an official co-operative agreement, the Michael Succow Foundation supports the establishment of both national parks in close co-operation with the Ministry for the Environment and its subordinate Institute for Deserts, Flora and Fauna, Turkmenistan. 

The fieldwork, which includes aspects of biodiversity, land use and socio-economic concerns, started in 2008, and a zoning concept was developed. The current project will enable our partner in Turkmenistan, the Ministry for Nature Conservation, to draw up monitoring concepts, business plans and other essential documents for the ultimate recognition of the national parks.


Thanks to funds from the Eva-Kleinn-Scholarship and additional support from the Agency for Forests, Snow and Landscapes in Liechtenstein and the Manfred Hermsen Foundation, our foundation was able to invite four Turkmen students from the Desert Institute and the Ministry for Nature Conservation in Ashgabat to study at Greifswald University. 


This project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation; and the Federal Environment agency, as part of the Legal Aid Programme for Environmental Protection in Central and Eastern European countries.


BMU       BfN              UBA


Further project information

The following information sheets on different project components are available for download: