The territory of the Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve is located in the central part of the Ili intermountain basin. Its northern borders are mountains of Altyn Emel, Matai, Degeres, Sholak. Its natural borders in the South are Ili River and Kapshagai water storage basin. According to the natural physical-geographical zoning, the park area is a part of the Ili semidesert region of Ili-Balkhash-Alakol desert depression. Altyn Emel State National Nature Park is one of the largest protected areas in Kazakhstan, which is extremely important for the conservation of biological diversity of the region. The reserve was created as mammological, ornithological and wetlands protected area with the main purpose to preserve the most important and unique habitats of ungulates, as well as nesting sites of wetland birds. At the same time one of the main goals and objectives of the park is recreation and tourism.
Total area of Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve is 535 909, 4 ha. The main core zone occupies 54 767,5 ha, buffer zone – 252 885.8 ha, development zone – about 228 256,1 ha. All zones correspond to the territory of Altyn Emel state national nature park.
The main zone of biosphere reserve is strictly protected zone of nature reserve regime of Altyn Emel state nature national park, which represents natural mountain complex of southern Zhongar Mountain system. Article 44 of Chapter 8 of the Law of RK «About specially protected national territories» gives clear definition of national nature park: «state national nature park is a specially protected natural territory with the status of nature protective and scientific institution, dedicated for conservation of biological and landscape diversity, use in nature protection, ecologic-educational, scientific, tourist and recreational goals of unique natural complexes and objects of state nature reserve fund, which have special ecological, scientific, historic-cultural and recreational value». According to Article 45 paragraph 2 of the same Law: «within the reservation conditions zone of the state wildlife reserve any economic and recreational activities shall be prohibited under the reservation conditions established, which shall be corresponding to the protection regime of the state wilderness area». Altyn Emel state nature national partk corresponds with the highest category (A1) of natural territories of IUCN. Area of the core biosphere reserve's zone is 54 767,5 ha, which represents 7 parts. Altitudinal limits of biosphere reserve in the main part vary from 1000 to 2900 m.
Вuffer zone.According to Article 45 (paragraph 1) of the Law of RK «About SPNA» the buffer zone of Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve are 3 zones of Altyn Emel state national park: a) ecological stabilization zone; b) zone of tourism and recreational activity; c) zone of limited economic activity, as well as specially established protective zone of the reserve, which includes 2-3 km stripe along national park’s perimeter. Buffer zone's area is 252 885.8 ha.
Transition zone (zone of development, collaboration) of Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve is located on the territory of Kerbulak and Panfilov administrative districts of Almaty oblast. Total land area of the transition zone is about 228 256,1 ha. Basically, the used land are pastures, other lands, to less extent to the hayfields. Farms practice sheep and cattle grazing, to a lesser extent cultivate cereals (barley, corn, sunflower, etc.). In the areas of livestock grazing there are a few dozen shepherd sheepyards with buildings designed primarily for livestock. Road infrastructure in the territory of the reserve is represented mainly by dirt roads between the cordons, the length of which is about 450 km. On the lands of settlements there is paved public road that connects the village with Basshi settlements - Nurum and Araltobe villages. Central Office of the Reserve and major utilities and buildings are located in Basshi village. Basshi village and the central building of biosphere reserve are provided with telephone, electricity, water, septic tank and heat supply. Provision of engineering infrastructure reserve is incomplete, it concerns the cordones, many of which lack electricity. Most of the cordones are provided with power generators to meet the needs for electricity, and only the Shygan post power line stretches off from Basshi village.
According to the natural physical-geographical zoning, the park area is a part of the Ili semidesert region of Ili-Balkhash-Alakol desert depression. Altyn Emel State National Nature Park is one of the largest protected areas in Kazakhstan, which is extremely important for the conservation of biological diversity of the region. The reserve was created as mammological, ornithological and wetlands protected area with the main purpose to preserve the most important and unique habitats of ungulates, as well as nesting sites of wetland birds. At the same time one of the main goals and objectives of the park is recreation and tourism.
The mammalian fauna includes at least 70 species from 7 orders. It includes 6 species of insectivores, 11 chiropterans, 15 predatory species, solipeds - 3, artiodactyls -7, rodents - 26 and 2 lagomorphs. In general, it is 39.2% of the fauna of this class of vertebrates in Kazakhstan. There is high level of faunistic representativeness. The bird fauna of the Ili River basin lying within the boundaries of the biosphere reserve currently includes 260 species, of which 154 are nesting. The rare and endangered birds were included in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2012), it consists of 28 species (27 are nesting). Winter bird fauna of Ili basin lists 21 species. The bird fauna of Altyn Emel BR includes 52 families from the 60 families known in Kazakhstan, as well as 198 genera from the 214 registered genera in Kazakhstan. So, there is a very high representation of systematic groups of birds on the territory of the Biosphere Reserve.
The composition and distribution of the species composition of amphibians and reptiles in the territory of the Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve is adequately clarified. At present time 4 species of amphibians and 25 species of reptiles are known in Altyn Emel biosphere reserve, it is 29% and 45% of the fauna of Kazakhstan. Reptiles are sufficiently representated, among amphibians only Caudata is missing.
Currently, in the waters of the Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve at least 33 species of fish are found. They belong to 6 orders, 9 families and 26 genera. The representativeness of the ichthyofauna of the BR in relation to the whole fish fauna of Kazakhstan is quite high. For example, the representativeness is about 1/3 (or 31.7%) of the fish species in the country. Of the 11 orders registered in Kazakhstan, there are more than half (54.5%) of 19 families and 63 genera - 47.4% and 41.3%, respectively. However, it should be noted that lampreys that belong to the class of cyclostomes are absent. The reserve is currently home to 42 of the Red Data Book species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Looking from the point of geobotanical and the ecosystem approach, Kapchagay-Ili region is of particular value, as it is located in a desert zone of Kazakhstan and is located in the intermountain basin. It is bounded to the west and north of the southern spurs of Zhungar Alatau mountain system, in the south of Kapchagai reservoir and Ili river and has a rare combination of different types of landscapes and ecosystems in a relatively small area. Ecosystem diversity is composed of various zonal and intrazonal types such as different types of desert riparian forests of the floodplain of Ili river, deciduous and spruce forests, salt marshes, litters, etc. The originality of vegetation in Ili intermountain depression is caused by physical and geographical features of the region, caused by geochemical processes against the background of sharp continental arid climate. In botanical and geographical terms this area is located in the transition zone between the North and Zhungar Turan types of deserts, which explains the existence of unique plant communities and their varieties (Zhungar, Zhungar-North-Turan and North-Turan). In the region the scientists recorded about 1,800 species of vascular plants that belong to 320 genera and 75 families. The leading role in the flora is played by 15 main families, which contain the main part (almost 80%) of species diversity and more than 70% of the generic diversity of flora. Among the rare species of plants, including those listed in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan, there are 29 species, some of them are found only in the reserve.
The unique value of the biosphere reserve is justified by the rich historical and cultural heritage of the area. The most important of them - a monument of national importance "Singing Dunes", Saki mounds "Besshatyr", petroglyphs "Tanbalytas" and other objects.
Thus, the ecological importance of the Altyn Emel biosphere reserve is primarily in the preservation and reproduction of the unique flora and fauna, landscape and natural ecosystem of Zhungar Alatau Mountains and the Ili basin. It also includes the most valuable wetlands of Ili river. Protection regimes and zoning of the reserve allows to minimize harmful effects of human activities on ecosystems and protected and, at the same time to develop ecotourism.
Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve is located in the south-east of Kazakhstan, in respect of its administrative area is located within the boundaries of Kerbulak and Panfilov districts of Almaty Oblast. The central office of the reserve is located in Basshy village, 90 km from the district center of Saryozek and 190 km from the regional capital Taldykorgan City.
Existing favorable natural and recreational premises of the economic potential of the region, including tourism, limited to an insufficient level of socio-economic development of the region. The region does not have large enterprises. Medium and small businesses are not able to provide employment for the local population. Infrastructure is underdeveloped. The basis for the industrial production Kerbulak and Panfilov areas is the processing of agricultural products, due to the structure of agriculture. Thus, the volume of agricultural production in Kerbulak and Panfilov areas are several times higher than the volume of industrial production. The structure of agriculture in these areas is dominated by livestock breeding.
According to the Almaty Oblast Department of Statistics in the first quarter of 2011 the economically active population in the Panfilov district was 62,416 people, Kerbulak District – 29,193 people. The economically active population includes all population and the unemployed. Number of self-employed workers in Panfilov district in Q1 of 2011 amounted to 32,334 people, in Kerbulak District – 11,688 people. The number of unemployed people in the Panfilov district amounted to 3,496 people, Kerbulak District – 1,695 people. The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2011 in the Panfilov district was 5.6%, in Kerbulak District - 5.8%. Within the boundaries of the national park land located Basshy rural district with a population of 3,270 people living in three villages - Basshy, Nurum, Araltobe and Kosbastau. Outside of buffer zone located settlements Konurolen and Aidarly. The sources of water supply in all population centers are artesian wells and springs capped with primitive sanitary protection zones. Village water supply system has worked since 1967, length is 8,746 meters, standpipes – 25.
The territory of the national biosphere reserve is extended in the latitudinal direction for 120 km and in the meridional for 50-70 km. Its area is 460,208 hectares, including 263,329 hectares of permanent land use. The human population of the buffer zone is to a few dozen people, as well as Basshy’s rural area – 3,145 people. The population density is less than 1 person per sq. km. Occupying a neighboring position with the historical and cultural center of the city of Zharkent City and Charyn state national park on the territory of Almaty Oblast, the Altyn Emel biosphere reserve has a great potential to transform tourism into indicator, capable to strengthen the socio-economic development of the region as a whole. The territory has a good network of roads of international importance, including the northern part of the national park.
The natural conditions of the Altyn Emel BR and surrounding areas are very diverse for the development of diversified agriculture and tourism. The Kazakhstan segment of the Great Silk Road lies in the region. The Zharkent city has a unique architectural and art museum "Zharkent mosque". Currently, this part of the Silk Road is one of the key trade and economic area between Kazakhstan and China. Of course, these natural, historical and architectural sites are the basis for the formation of the tourism cluster in the south and south-east of Kazakhstan. This cluster can be significantly enriched by the potential of Altyn Emel reserve and Zharkent City. With regard to tourism in the Altyn Emel BR it must be associated with involvement of the local population. Human settlements in the reserve should become the most important elements of tourist companies in terms of diversification of services. For example, in the supply of tourist eco-friendly products, horse riding, to provide tourists needs Altyn Emel conditions hiking gear by seasons (rentals), hotels and sports camps, the production and sale of souvenirs and so on. The territory of the reserve is in perfect condition, no litter anywhere, throughout the territory there are bins for garbage collection. Cordons, hotels and other facilities are maintained in good condition. Accommodation units for tourists have toilet facilities. In places for long stay (more than 1 day), there are hotels with indoor showers and toilets. Septic tanks are used where sewage is not available.
Currently the main scientific – technical support of the biosphere reserve's territory is carried out by the staff of Altyn Emel state nature national park. In the frames of GEF/UNDP international project on the conservation of the arid ecosystem in PAs (2014-2019) a part of equipment was donated (computers and other office appliences, equipment for water quality control, photo cameras, video camera, echo sounder, binoculars, telescopes, GPS, etc.). In the frames of planned work different training seminars were conducted, dedicated to management plan preparation, biodiversity monitoring, state inspectors were trained in drawing up reports, complying with safety operating procedures and fire prevention, trips for experience exchange were organized to Korgalzhyn biosphere reserve, Karatau nature reserve (Kazakhstan), Berezinskiy nature reserve (Belorussia), and to scientific-practical conferences inside Kazakhstan (Almaty, Astana) and abroad (Moscow, Russia and Minsk, Belorussia). Since the national park was established there is Nature Museum, which occupies several exposition halls with numerous dioramas and museum exhibits. Every year there are numerous ecological festivals, exhibitions and educational trainings. The last research survey and preparation of the nomination dossier in 2016 were supported by Kazakh National Geographic Society.
The entire territory of Altyn Emel BR is located in a desert area in the middle of this desert subzone, so are the predominant type of desert ecosystems in arid lowlands, hills and mountain plains. In the mountains, in the special conditions of hydrothermal regime steppe, grassland, scrub and forest ecosystems are formed. It should be noted that the territory of the Altyn Emel desert plains and foothill ecosystems prevail. Taking into account the mountain completely covers the diversity of ecosystem types of Ili intermountain basins and flanking its ridges (Altyn-Emel, Degeres, Matai, etc.) which is the southern outpost of the mountains of Zhungar Alatau mountains as well as a unique ancient lowland separate massifs such as mountains Sholak, Katutau and the Cretaceous-Paleogene mountains of Aktau.
Ecosystems of Biosphere Reserve are divided into four main classes: mountain, melkosopochnik, foothills and plains. Mountain and melkosopochnik ecosystems are represented mostly by the steppe ecosystems, less meadow, shrub and forest. The ecosystems of the foothills and plains are mainly desert, less solonchak hydromorphic and hydromorphic and hydromorphic meadow and tugay. The following major ecosystem types are represented in the reserve:
Mountain tree-shrub ecosystems – forest fragments are rare, generally only within the ridge of Altyn Emel, Degeres mountains and Matai mountains. Bush thickets are everywhere, mostly arid, xerophytic.
- Shrub thickets with wild fruit trees. Fragments of ecosystems involving Malus sieversii and hawthorn are spread sporadically through the gorges of the mountains Degeres, Matai and along rivers. Siever’s apple tree (Malus sieversii) is a valuable material for breeding. The fruits have a great variety of shapes, sizes and taste. Apple and hawthorn are found in groups of shrub thickets and species of wild rose (Rosa), barberry (Berberis), cotoneaster (Cotoneaster).
- Mountian riparian forest ecosystem of mountain river valleys. Vegetation - willow-shrub thickets (Salix, Rosa, Berberberis) in the floodplain of forest-meadow and meadow-alluvial soils. In the gorges the Red Data Book species Celtis caucasica and Clematis songorica sometimes are found. These ecosystems are the habitat of many rare animals and plants, and play an important role for water resource conservation. In the lower mountain zones they are transformed because of the recreation activities.
- Juniper thickets and creeping junipers (Juniperus pseudosabina) alternate with mountain steppes and meadows in steep rocky highlands in the amplitude of 1600 -2400 (2800) m in altitude. They have landscape stabilizing and balneological value.
Mountain meadow ecosystems within the reserve are rare, mainly in high mountineous areas and midlands (Mountains Altyn-Emel, Matai and Degeres).
- The subalpine meadows (2200-2800 m). The most widespread are Alchemilla vulgaris, A retropilosa and some Geraniaceae (Geranium saxatile, G. albiflorum), motley-grass - cereal (Pleum phleoides, Alopecurus pratensis, Helictotrichon pubescens) meadows. Soils are montane-meadow subalpine. Good summer pastures for wild animals, potentially suitable for placement of apiaries.
- True meadows (1600-2200) are motley-grass with the dominance of Dactylis glomerata, Poa angustifolia and some motley-grass (Thalictrum, Ligularia, Geranium, Sanguisorba et al.) Soils are mountain chestnut and mountain chernozems. These meadows, due to a well-developed sod, perform soil protection role. They are used as hayfields and summer-autumn pastures for wild and domestic animals
Mountain and foothill steppe ecosystems are spread over a range of altitudes and are mainly represented by petrophyte (rocks and gravel), hemipetrophyte (on gravelly clay and loam) and true (on the black earth) variations. The terrirory of BR contains the following subtypes:
- HIghland steppe ecosystems - are confined to the southern slopes of the mountains in the 2200-2900 m altitude range and represented by feather grass and oat grass steppes on thermoxeromorphic soils.
- Mid-steppe ecosystems (1600-2400 m). The vegetation is formed by the dry feather grass-fescue steppes of Festuca valesiaca, Stipa capillata, S.kirghisorum, Koeleria cristata, and fescue-feather grass steppes with domination of different species of feather grass (Stipa zalesskii, S. capillata, S. lessingiana), fescue (Festuca valesiaca) and Helictotrichon songorica, often with shrubs: Rosa, Spiraea, Cotoneaster, Atraphaxis, as well as meadow steppes, which are formed by steppe and meadow species: Festuca valesiaca, Stipa zalesskii, Poa stepposa, Phleum phleoides, Dactylis glomerata, Thalictrum spp., Hedysarum spp., Galium spp., Medicago spp. Soils are mountain chestnut and mountain chernozems. It is pastures for wild and domestic animals of summer and autumn.
- Lowland desert-steppe ecosystems within the altitudes of 400-600 (800) m with ephemeroid-Artemisia-Stipa steppes with the domination of Stipa sareptana, S. lessingiana, S. caucasica, Festuca valesiaca, with species of Artemisia of the subgenus Seriphidium and shrubs: Spiraea, Atraphaxis, and Rosa. It is the habitats of many rare species of ornamental flora in early spring (tulips, irises). The soils are light chestnut and mountain foothills. It is pastures in spring, autumn and winter for all species of wild ungulates inhabiting this territory.
- Foothill dry steppe ecosystems are in the range 1550-1700 m in altitude and occupy small areas adjacent to the foothills of the Altyn-Emel Ridge. It predominates in the communities of feather grass (Stipa capillata, S.kirghisorum) and fescue (Festuca valesiaca), drought-resistant grasses, as well as of Artemisia (Artemisia tianschanica) and Ajania fastigiata.
- Foothill desert steppes are located at the altitude of 1400-1550 m. In their composition, there are desert species of Artemisia along with turf cereals species. Desert steppes are presented by Festuca-Artemisia (Festuca valesiaca, Artemisia heptapotamica) and Stipa-Artemisia (Stipa caucasica, S. orientalis, Artemisia heptapotamica, A. sublessingiana) communities, the latter should be considered as Central Asian and Zhungar type of steppes.
The desert ecosystems occupy the largest area in the reserve and are represented by different subtypes.
- Foothill desert steppe (semi-desert) on the foothill brown soils are characterized by domination of desert dwarf semishrubs with the active participation of cereals. It is characterized by cereal-Artemisia (Artemisia heptapotamica, Stipa sareptana, Agropyron cristatum) and community of Nanophyton erinaceum, Stipa caucasica, S.orientalis.
- True deserts are found in the plains, plateaus and in melkosopochnik areas and determine the overall position of the zonal area. They are divided into two types:
- The ecosystems of the watersheds on gray-brown soils occupy a dominant area. Their composition is dominated by numerous species of dwarf semi-shrubs and shrub perennial Salsola (Nanophyton erinaceum, Salsola arbusculiformis, Arthrophyton iliense, A. balchashense, A.longibracteatum, Anabasis salsa and other) and Artemisia (Artemisia sublessingiana, Artemisia terrae- albae, A. heptopotamica).
- Ecosystems of sands - on deserted sandy soils with hilly and hilly-ridge relief and dominance psammophytic vegetation with domination of white saxaul (Haloxylon persicum, Calligonum spp., Krascheninnikovia ceratoides, Dendrostellera arenaria), Artemisia (Artemisia santolina, A. arenaria) and ephemers in the lower layer .
- Ecosystems of desert forest are represented by black saxaul communities on gray-brown zonal soils and takyr, sometimes gravelly soils. They are common in central Basshy valley near Kulanshoky hill and southern foothills of Katutau (Saxaul valley). Black Saxaul (Haloxylon aphyllum) as a powerful edificator of desert vegetation, forming a specific habitat in the communities due to the shading, soil surface salinification, microclimate change, especially under the canopy of trees.
- Extreme arid deserts on extremely arid desert soils are confined to the lowest part of the valley (less than 700 m) and are one of the most interesting types of deserts in the region. Their distribution shows a significant aridity of the lower part of Ili intermountain basin. This type is characterized by the predominance of stony deserts watersheds, devoided of vegetation. Iljinia regelii (West-Central Asian species) is recorded at the watersheds in separate locations. Black densely packed gravel and pebbles cover up to 90% of the surface. Watersheds are cut by the beds of dry streams, where the vegetation is concentrated in the conditions of additional moisture. Soil and vegetation are similar to that in the Gobi region of Central Asia.
- Semihydromorphic ecosystems occupy the places of the negative relief and their formation is due to the additional moisture conditions, mostly associated with the accumulation of precipitation (takyrs) or exudative soil regime with close occurrence of groundwater (salt marshes, solonetz). They comprise the following types:
- Ecosystems of solonchak - are confined to depressions with the occurrence of mineralized groundwater. Vegetation is represented by dwarf subshrub: Anabasis salsa, Halocnemum strobilaceum, subshrub species of Kalidium, Suaeda physophora and shrub communities - Halostachys belangeriana, Nitraria sibirica with annual Salsola. The unique ecosystem of solonchak with Reaumuria halophytic shrub dominance are confined to the eastern part of the reserve, particularly to the foothill plain of Aktau mountains and terraces above the floodplain of Ili river. Such ecosystems are characteristic for Zhungar desert type and in the territory of Kazakhstan are found in fragments in the riverine part of the Ili basin, its protection is only possible in the eastern parts of the biosphere reserve.
Hydromorphic ecosystems are formed in the conditions of regular or periodic flooding the surface with close occurrence (0.5-3.0 m.) of flowing groundwater.
- Ecosystems of takyrs - clay closed depressions, almost devoid of vegetation with soil algae on the surface. They are only on the territory of south-eastern part, in the piedmont plain of Aktau mountains.
- Floodplain wetland ecosystems are presented by grassy marshes dominated by common reed (Phragmites australis), cattail (Thypha angustifolia, T. minima) and bulrush (Scirpus lacustris, S. tabernaemontanii) in shallow water and the series of marsh soils in the new delta of Ili river at the confluence with Kapshagai reservoir, as well as in combination with tugay floodplain of Ili river in the south-eastern part of the reserve.
- Meadow plain ecosystems are mainly distributed in the areas adjacent to the coastal meadows of Kapshagai reservoir in the western part and distributed on the floodplain Ili river in the eastern part. They are common in depressions with shallow groundwater, springs outputs, floodplain depressions. In large areas of marshy meadows spread on the soils of the marsh a number of emerging, as opposed to herbal swamps in negative relief forms the main surface. Vegetation is represented by Phragmites australis, Bolboschoenus maritimus communities. On the flat elevations with meadow soils (alluvial grassland) in mature segments the floodplain ecosystems of the true meadows are formed, with the dominance of Calamagrostis epigeios, Glycyrrhiza uralensis and motley-grass. In Mynbulak Achnatherum splendens are common.
- Ecosystems tugai (floodplain forests) - currently in the reserve they are distributed around the central part of Ili river floodplain and in Mynbulak tract oases on alluvial meadow-tugai soils. The main tree species are Elaeagnus oxycarpa, turanga (Populus diversifolia), willows (Salix alba, S. soongorica). A special feature on the territory of tugais is the dominance a Red Data Book poplar Populus pruinosa in the river sands. Species of Tamarix (Tamarix ramosissima, T.hispida), Halimodendron halodendron, Nitraria sibirica predominate from shrubs, as well as the Red Data Book and endemic species Berberis iliensis, Rosa iliensis and Lonicera iliensis.
- Ecosystems of savannoid turanga sparse forests - formed by subgenus of turanga poplars (Populus pruinosa, P.diversifolia). They are formed on the lower ancient alluvial plains (Mynbulak site), and sand terraces above the floodplain (Kumkala) with a variety of shrubs (Tamarix laxa, Reomuria songorica, Krascheninnicovia ceratoides et al.) In the lower layer that depends on the moisture regime.
Flora of Altyn Emel BR today includes 825 species of vascular plants belonging to 380 genera and 84 families. The list is not complete and requires further research of flora, including aquatic plants. The flora of Altyn Emel is represented by 29 species of flowering plants listed in the Red Data Book of Kazakhstan (1981). In addition to rare and endangered species, there are a lot of endemic plants that are unique to the reserve and the area of its location.
Fauna of invertebrate animals consists of 1,658 species, including taxa: Orthoptera - 56, Mantidae and others - 7, Homoptera – 497, Coleoptera – 536, Lepidoptera – 164, Hymenoptera - 225, bird parasites (insects) - 1, Arachnids - 140, mollusks - 32 species. Fauna of vertebrates in the reserve consists of 393 species, including 78 species of mammals, 260 species of birds, 25 species of reptiles, 4 species of amphibians, 26 species of fish.
Kapchagai reservoir and Ili River ichthyofauna is represented by 26 species. The vast majority of species (88.5%) are introducted species, 39.1% are species for artificial economic introduction, others are occasional species, 46% of the species have an economic value, 12% - non-significant economic value, 42% - non-commercial. The lowest number of species (20) is found in the reservoir, the largest (24) - in water area of Ili river. The Reserve hosts 260 species of birds, 154 - breeding species (64.0%), 64 – migratory species (26.6%). The Red Data Book of Kazakhstan lists 28 species of birds from the BR, most of them are nesting in the BR. Distribution of mammals existing in the Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve is as follows: insectivorous - 6 species, bats – 11, carnivorous – 15, solipeds – 3, Artiodactyla - 7, rodents - 26 and Lagomorphs - 2 species. Among the mammalian species there are acclimatized animals: muskrat, Turkmen kulan, Bukhara deer and re-introduced Przewalski horse. The number of muskrats on the floodplain of the river or the coast and Kapchagai reservoir is low due to the sudden changes in water level. The number of kulans now has already exceeded 2692 animals. On the territory of Altyn Emel BR there is a large number of rare and endangered animals, including 2 species of fish, 2 amphibians, 1 reptile, 11 mammals and 28 birds.
Tourism. The natural conditions of the Altyn Emel BR and surrounding areas are very diverse for the development of diversified agriculture and tourism. The Kazakhstan segment of the Great Silk Road lies in the region. Currently, this part of the Silk Road is one of the key trade and economic area between Kazakhstan and China.
In the neighboring Uygur region there are well known monuments of nature – the only one in Eurasia (the second after Canada) relic Ash-tree grove with an area of 5.0 thousand hectares. It is famous in Kazakhstan Charyn river canyon. The occurrence of relict trees belongs to the epoch of the Paleogene. It is a unique monument of nature that has been preserved since the late Tertiary pre-Ice Age. The basis of the monument is one of the oldest types of modern flora - Sogdian ash, referred to as vanishing by international IUCN criteria. These natural, historical and architectural sites are the basis for the formation of the tourism cluster in the south and south-east of Kazakhstan. This cluster can be significantly augmented capabilities of the biosphere reserve of Altyn Emel and Zharkent. We are talking about diversification within the region under consideration of various kinds and categories of tourism: ecological, ethnic, cultural, scientific and recreational, in the context of general economic development of the entire region of South-Eastern Kazakhstan.
With regard to tourism in the Altyn Emel BR it must be associated with involvement of the local population. Human settlements in the reserve should become the most important elements of tourist companies in terms of diversification of services. For example, in the supply of tourist eco-friendly products, horse riding, to provide tourists needs Altyn Emel conditions hiking gear by seasons (rentals), hotels and sports camps, the production and sale of souvenirs and so on. The territory of the reserve is in perfect condition, no litter anywhere, throughout the territory there are bins for garbage collection. Cordons, hotels and other facilities are maintained in good condition. Accommodation units for tourists have toilet facilities. In places for long stay (more than 1 day), there are hotels with indoor showers and toilets. Septic tanks are used where sewage is not available.