Log In


Radio-ecological monitoring of the environment of "Biosphere Reserve Issyk-Kul" using GIS technology

Project Status: 3 Approved without Funding
Duration in months: 36 months


The Issyk-Kul basin of Kyrgyzstan is a unique area of the biosphere of Central Asia with unique natural and climatic conditions. In order to preserve the environment of this natural complex according to the decision of the Bureau of the International Coordinating Council of the UNESCO "Man and Biosphere", it was adopted at a meeting in Paris from 19 to 21 September 2001, the network of biosphere territory entered the Issyk-Kul State Reserve, which is part of the Issyk-Kul region was given the name "biosphere territory Issyk-Kul". The ecosystem of the region is particularly vulnerable to natural and anthropogenic influences, going through a difficult period of transition to a market economy. In the region the tourism, transportation, mining and agriculture are rapidly developing. Increases the amount of waste and waste water, the level of air pollution, surface water, soil, additional human-induced pressures create areas with elevated background technogeny radionuclide in areas previously existing mining and processing of uranium raw material (uranium tailings Kadji-Sai). The ecology of radioactive elements and heavy metals in the Biosphere Territory of Issyk-Kul today is understudied. There is a risk of their accumulation in environmental objects. In this regard, the comprehensive ecological and biogeochemical study to determine the contents of radionuclide and heavy metals in the environment of the “Biosphere Reserve Issyk-Kul”, their quantitative parameters and levels of accumulation in living organisms, biological diversity of living organisms in the prevailing geochemical environments should be done.

The project aims to monitor the biogeochemical and radio-ecological state of the environment of biosphere territory "Issyk-Kul" and to develop an electronic passport using GIS technology.

1. To study the level of main radiation, total radioactivity (isotope composition) and to determine the content of heavy metals in different zones of environment of biosphere territory – nuclear, transitional, buffer and rehabilitation (soil, plants, animals);
2. To examine the current state of soil (soil erosion, risk of migration of radionuclide and heavy metals and their falling into the lake);
3. To assess the degree of biodiversity of flora and fauna in the areas of biosphere territory, as well as in urban and industrial areas (uranium tailing Kadji-Sai)
4. To determine the content of radionuclide and heavy metals in water, bottom sediment, algae and fish of the lake Issyk-Kul;
5. To determine main zones of radiobiogeochemical contamination and to develop an electronic passport of the biosphere territory of Issyk-Kul in these zones (thematic maps of accumulation of radionuclide and heavy metals in the environment, radiation content, the state of soil).
6. Using GIS technology to predict the risk of contamination with radionuclide and heavy metals of the biosphere territory of Issyk-Kul in the zones (village Kadji-Sai, Issyk-Kul lake and surrounding areas), to make recommendations to reduce the risk of contamination to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agricultury, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defense of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Implementation of the project will contribute to the development of international scientific and technical cooperation in the field of biogeochemistry, radioecology and creating long-term prospects to control the spread of radiation in the framework of the International Scientific Association. The investigation will be carried out on the territory of the biosphere territory "Issyk-Kul" (core zone; buffer zone; the transition zone, zone of remediation). To create an electronic data base (database of radioecology and biogeochemistry), visualization of this information on a map of the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan will develop a policy of environmental safety of the population in the border region between the three neighboring countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China. Similar work in Kyrgyzstan has not yet been carried out. Foreign collaborators will evaluate the work of the project team as experts in the following areas: the analysis of the collected samples of water, soil, living organisms, nuclear physics, radiation and various analytical and dosimetric methods, characteristics of the habitats, the use of GIS technology to create a passport and database. Foreign collaborators will also assist in the purchase of equipment and chemicals, research, intellectual property and information support of the project, reviewing and editing scientific publications based on the results of the project, the discussions on the key issues of the project.

The study of radio-ecological situation in BT "Issyk-Kul" will be held in the course of expeditions to collect samples of soil, water, capture and analysis of small animals and plants, GIS mapping of the terrain. The expedition will consist of 17 people: zoologist, ecologist, botanist, radio physics, soil scientist, biogeochemist, hydrologist, six catchers, groom, two drivers, and a cook. The work period of expedition – 40-50 days in the summer season (approximately from May 25 to July 5). In the first year the expedition will be working in the core and buffer zone; in the second year - in the transition zone, and in the third year - in the area of rehabilitation. The total area of three years-long researches will coverage about 2500-3000 square kilometers of high mountains, gorges, valleys, Mountain Rivers and coastal lakes. This survey will allow a full territorial monitoring of BT "Issyk-Kul".To create the electronic maps of BT “Issyk-Kul” with coordinates of the contaminated areas, places of isolation and accumulation of radio-nuclides and heavy metals, environmental survey data of BT will be used geographic information system (GIS) software Arc GIS 10.1, Arc map. The system is developed based on GIS - platform Arc View.

Participating Institutions



Institute of Biology and Pedology


Issyk-Kul State University named after K. Tynystanov (IGU)


Biosphere territory of “Isik-Kol” (BT of “Isik-Kol”)


Wismuth GmbH