Assessment of ecosystem services of the wetlands in the Ili River Delta, Kazakhstan uri icon

abstract

  • Central Asia is the region with the worldwide highest number of endorheic or closed river basins. Many of those river basins are transboundary ones. Following the desiccation of the Aral Sea, Lake Balkhash has become the largest lake of Central Asia with an area of 17,000 km2. The Ili Delta, in total 8000 km2 large, is the largest natural delta and wetland complex of Central Asia. Seventy percent of the Ili Riverâ??s runoff is generated in China. So, the Ili Delta is a showcase for a wetland complex lying downstream in a transboundary river basin. The objective of this paper is to assess the area and distribution of the wetlands and Phragmites australis-dominated reed vegetation as major natural ecosystems in the Ili Delta and their associated ecosystem services. An analysis of Rapid Eye satellite images revealed that there are wetlands and reed vegetation on a total area of 211,778 ha in the Ili Delta. A total of 85,400 ha are submerged reed beds with a total estimated biomass of 869,097 t. P. australis is used as fodder and raw material. Currently, there are about 100,000 livestock grazing in the delta. The submerged reed is planned to be used by a factory for chipboards and a paper factory. The wetlands are important spawning grounds for fish of Lake Balkhash. In 2014, almost 10,000 tourists visited the delta. Most of all tourists come from Almaty, followed by Russia, other regions of Kazakhstan, and Europe (outside Russia). © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017