|Protected Areas in Azerbaijan
Specially protected nature areas and monuments are the national wealth of the Republic of Azerbaijan and recognized as having ecological, scientific, cultural and aesthetic values.
The status of specially protected nature areas has been defined in the Law on Environment Protection and Law on Specially Protected Nature Areas and Monuments.
The following status has been assigned to specially protected nature areas in Azerbaijan dependent on the objectives of protection and specifics of use:
- state nature reserves, including biosphere reserves
- national and natural parks
- ecological parks
- natural monuments
- state sanctuaries
- zoological parks
- botanic and dendrological parks
- health spas and resorts
It has always been a challenge to ensure a proper balance in the relations between humans and nature. The establishment of national parks is one of the solutions to this issue of concern as they can ensure the very optimal form of harmless communication between human beings and nature and make it possible to benefit from nature through its conservation.
Azerbaijan has been taking its very first steps in this direction and this is a new trend for our country and citizens. The first national park Shirvan was opened in 2003. Later another four national parks were established and activities are being continued in this direction. Presently, the overall area of specially protected sites in Azerbaijan including national parks is 594939,1 hectares and this constitutes 7% of the total country's area. The overall area of the established National Parks in Azerbaijan is 117,7 thousand hectares comprising six national parks - Shirvan, Ordubad, Ag-Gol, Hirkan, ltiagaj and Absheron. The forthcoming creation of the Shag Dag National Park to protect the ecosystem of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, Samur-Yalama National Park encompassing part of the Caspian Sea to the north of the country as well as Goygol National Park will expand this area up to 11%.
State Nature Reserves
The first nature reserve areas to protect an amazing nature of Azerbaijan were established in 30s of the last century in Goygol, Zagatala, and Gizilaghaj. The adoption of the Law on the Protection of the Nature of Azerbaijan in 1969 has promoted the growth in the number of reserves. In a short while after that date six other specially protected sites, namely Shirvan, Bastichay, Garayazi, Aggol, Ismayilli, Ilisu, and Altiaghaj state nature reserves were created. Until 2003 the overall area of specially protected sites was 478 thousand hectares constituting 5% of the country's area. In the course of 2003 and 2004 the area of protected nature sites has been extended by almost 117 thousand hectares. At present there are 13 state nature reserves and 19 state nature sanctuaries which encompass major ecosystems.
Source: Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan - The State of Environment, Azerbaijan 2004