The Repetek IBA is situated in the central part of the East Karakum. Typical features of the relief are large-ridge sands with barchan massifs and valley depressions. Large ridges have a meridional and submeridional direction. The slopes of the ridges are asymmetric; from the east - gentle slopes (5-8˚), from the west – more abrupt (23-24˚), passing into valley depressions. The relative height of the ridges is 15-20m, the distance between them is 6-7 km and the length is 8-10 km. Valley depressions adjoining the western slopes are characterized by the lowest hypsometric altitude and extend for 3-7 km with a width of up to several hundreds metres. In the west of the site the valley depressions are gradually replaced with eolian small-hilly dunes. The overall ruggedness of the relief is weak – 3-5m, in some places 7-8 m (Gunin, Darimov, Veyisov, 1972).
The avifauna of the Repetek IBA includes 201 species (Turkmenistan total – more than 400 species), including: non-migratory – 15 species, nesting - 18 species, wintering - 24 species, migrant - 125 species, vagrant - 3 species and passage - 16 species (Sopyyev, Atayev, 1991; Kurbanov, Кuzmenko, 2002).
The following rare species are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Aquila chrysaetus, Bubo bubo, Passer simplex, Circaetus gallicus, Falco naumanni, Chlamydotis undulata, Pelecanus onocrotalus, Pelecanus crispus, Platalea leucorodia, Aegypius monachus, Buteo buteo, Aquila heliaca and also the globally threatened Circus macrourus, Crex crex and Coracias garrulus.
The following А1 species have been recorded but not in numbers sufficient to designate the site under this criterion - Chlamydotis undulata, Aegypius monachus, Circus macrourus, Falco naumanni and Coracias garrulus.
Criterion А3 applies for 14 species of the CA04b biome.
Non-bird biodiversity: Invertebrates - more than 1,100 species, of which: Oniscidae - 1 species (Sabirova, Kaplin, 1974); Ixodidae - 9 (Afanasyeva, Sapojenkov, 1965, Krivokhatskiy 1981), Oribatei - more than 20 (Krivolutskiy, 1975); scorpions - 6 (Fet, 1980), spiders - 50 (Kaplin, 1978, Krivokhatsiy, 1982, Sabirova, 1972), Pseudoscorpiones - 4, phalanxes - 5, Myriapoda - 2 (Kaplin, 1978); insects - more than 1,000 species, including: bugs - 456, Lepidoptera - 171 (Svetaev, 1972), Braconidae - 54 (Alekseyev, 1972).
Reptile - 22 species, including turtles - 1, lizards - 12, snakes - 9. The desert monitor (Varanus griseus) and a cobra are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999) (Shammakov, etc., 2004).
Mammals - 29 species: insectivores - 4, Chiroptera - 6, Lagomorpha - 1, rodents - 11, predators - 8, ungulates - 1 species. Porcupine, caracal, lynx and gazelle are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999).
Flora: 134 species: arboreal - 21, grasses - 104, mushrooms - 8 and mosses - 1 species (Mihelson, 1955); soil algae - 68 (Litvinova, 1972), Phycomycetae - 197 species (Veyisova, 1992). The vegetation communities of the barchan sand dunes have the greatest importance: Calligonum arborescens, Calligonum caput-medusae and Stipagrostis karelinii. On fixed hilly sands: white saxaul and Carex sp occur; in the valley depressions: black saxaul, Carex sp and Salsolas (Veyisov, 1975).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
At present, the ecosystem of the IBA is considered to be in a safe condition. The greatest threat is overgrazing.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
This is the most thoroughly studied site in terms of composition and structure of biodiversity of the biome CA04b. From 1940 to 1980 there was regular monitoring of birds, fauna and flora. A МАВ project studying the complex desert ecosystem was carried out. No work was carried out in the 1990s.
There have been two recent projects concerned with the problems of this region:
- 2003-2006 - Project GEF-UNEP-WWF « Projecting ECONET for long-term biodiversity protection » (WWF - the executive organization, the partner - the Ministry of Nature Protection)
- 2003-2005 - Project UNDP « Improvement of protected areas system in Turkmenistan (ECONET) » (the executive organization - the Ministry of Nature Protection).
The Repetek Reserve, located in the central part of the East Karakum Desert, was founded in 1927, and covers 34,600 hectares of typical sand desert.
Habitat and land use
The site consists of a sand plain with large sand ridges and valley depressions. The mobile sand dunes (barkhans) have only sparse vegetation. Repetek is one of the few places in the Karakum Desert where desert forest of black saxaul (Haloxylon aphyllum), in the valley depressions, has been preserved.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Repetek. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/08/2022.