Sünt-Hasardag Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in the Balkan province of Turkmenistan. It was established in 1977 to protect indigenous flora and fauna. The nature reserve is located in south-western part of the Kopetdag Range closer to the border with Iran. It covers an area of 303 km² and also incorporates the Sünt-Hasardag Sanctuary (zakaznik) which was established in 1990.
The Sünt-Hasardag Nature Reserve is located in the southwestern Kopetdag. It consists of three sections: Central (both slopes of the Sünt-Hasardag ridge), Ayderinsky (canyon of the gorge of the same name) and Chandyrsky (northern slope of the Palvan ridge). They are located mainly on high hills, as well as in the lower and middle mountain zones. Part of the reserve’s territory is represented by low foothills.
The absolute altitude interval is from 500 to 1600 m in the Central section, from 800 to 1500 m in the Aiderinsky section and from 500 to 1200 m in the Chendyr section.
The climate in the Sünt-Hasardag nature reserve is dry subtropical. In winter, due to cold air breakthroughs from the northern slope of the Kopetdag, the temperature occasionally drops for a short time to -10 – -15. Average monthly temperatures in the winter months are never negative. The Sumbara and Chandyra valleys in the west receive warm and humid air masses from the Caspian Sea, which greatly softens the winter weather.
Spring and autumn are warm, summer is dry and hot. The bulk of precipitation falls in winter in the form of rain. In summer, up to 10-15 mm per month in the form of short-term and heavy rains. Some years there are catastrophic rainfalls. In July 1981, more than 200 mm fell in two days, which caused powerful mudflows in the Sumbar basin. The main source of water in the region is the Sumbar River, a tributary of the Atrek.
Flora and fauna
The flora of the region where the reserve is located is unusually rich. In the flora of the Kopetdag, in general, there are 1,766 plant species, of which, according to some sources, 1,381 and 1,266 species are registered in the western Kopetdag, and according to others, 1,148 species. The flora of the reserve is represented by 1293 species from 559 genera and 100 families.
The list of animals of the western Kopetdag includes 76 species. This list, however, also includes extinct ones: the Turanian tiger, cheetah, red deer, which were found here in the first decades of the 20th century, as well as species whose entry is possible from Iran, and species that are known from the central Kopetdag, but can also be found in the nature reserve. The fauna is very specific: 25-28 species are endemic or subendemic to the Kopetdag. The Syunt-Khasardag Nature Reserve plays a very important role in maintaining the numbers of the Central Asian leopard and other species of predators.