The Vardanzi IBA is situated in the Shafirkan district of Bukhara province, 50 km northwest of the town of Bukhara and 7 km from the district center Shafirkan. The area is situated near the edge of SW part of the Kyzylkum desert and is surrounded on all sides by reclaimed land. It is effectively an “islet” of fixed sandy desert inside an oasis. Dense thickets of saxaul formed during the 20th century in the Vardanzi natural monument. The main vegetation consists of trees and shrubs including black saxaul, Rihter’s saltwort, Calligonum and tamarisk, camel's-thorn and Lycium are dominant plant species. Ephemeral species abound in the area. The climate is extremely continental. There is farmland and many of villages around the Vardanzi IBA.
Although only a few sites have been formally proposed under the A3 biome-restricted criteria (for biome CA04b Eurasian Desert and Semi-desert), many of the IBAs in the Kyzylkum Desert region support populations of biome-restricted species and, effectively, form a network of sites throughout the area.
The IBA is important for a wide variety of breeding, migrating and wintering birds. Between 1967 and 2000, 147 species were recorded. Passeriformes prevail (12.2%) followed by Falconiformes (9.5%). Migrating birds (44.9%) are most numerous, while wintering and breeding birds constitute 21.2% and 20.4%, respectively. Forty-four species breed. 42 species were recorded during IBA fieldwork from 14 to 20 May 2006. The globally endangered Coracias garrulus and the Zerafshan subspecies of pheasant Phasianus colchicus, a sub-species with an extremely restricted distribution and included in the National Red Data Book, both breed.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include: Erinacens auritus, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Lepus tolau, Citellus fulvus, Allactaga elater, Mus musculus, Meriones libycus, Rhombomys opimus, Elobius talpinus, Canis aureus, Vulpes vulpes, Felis libica, Vormela peregusna, Mustela eversmanni.
Amphibians include only two species: Bufo viridis and Rana ridibunda. More than ten species of reptiles were recorded: Testudo horsfieldi, several species of Eremias, Phrynocephalus, geckos, Trapelus sanguinolentus, Psammophis lineolatum, Coluber sp and others. TFish found in the canal, collector channel and cooling pools include: Cyprinus carpio, Silurus glanis, Gambusia affinis, Alburnoides sp., Nemacheilus sp.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major threat is habitat change connected with the expansion of various illegal private plantations in the vicinity of the nature monument. A significant part of the area is rented to a large number of tenants. Illegal hunting, pasturing, collecting firewood are also threats.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
An ornithological survey of the area was conducted from 14 to 20 May 2006 as part of the Uzbekistan IBA project. The survey has shown that this area fulfils the international criteria for its designation as an IBA.
State Natural Memorial Vardanzi
Extended by the decision of the Navoi regional hokimiyat (administration) No K-13 of 21.04.1997.
Habitat and land use
This sandy desert IBA contains three biotopes within the Vardanze nature monument: tree-shrubs, human constructions and agricultural lands. There are also small water bodies (a collector and canals). Currently about 30% of the territory is ploughed and used for crops. Cattle also graze. Tourists, excursions and photography (of the Kurgan, ruins of the town of Vardanze, animals and plants) are all allowed in the nature monument. The nature monument is situated in close proximity to many settlements (Bogiafzal, Undare, Sherobod, Yangiobod, etc.). Local residents make use of the bioresources of the nature monument (illegal hunt, pasturing, collecting firewood and forage, etc). Owing to its well-developed root system, saxaul can quickly rehabilitate.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Vardanzi. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 17/08/2022.