‘Beautiful and fascinating’ Bamyan landscapes country’s newest protected area

7 Jun 2015

‘Beautiful and fascinating’ Bamyan landscapes country’s newest protected area

BAMYAN - The Shah Foladi region of central Bamyan province – which includes one of Afghanistan’s most beautiful and fascinating landscapes, the Shah Foladi Valley – has been declared a protected area.

The National Environmental Protection Agency of Afghanistan announcement, coinciding with World Environment Day on 5 June, represents the declaration of the country’s third nationally protected area.

“It is our responsibility to protect the environment and preserve it for future generation(s),” the agency said in a statement.

The Shah Foladi Valley, which spans more than 700 square kilometres and is crowned by the 5,050 metre Shah Foladi peak, is located near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamyan city.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has identified the valley, which is situated in the Shah Foladi area and is covered with snow throughout most of the year, as a nationally important watershed that feeds nearly all of the country’s major river systems.

Much of the area consists of high-elevation rangelands that support diverse wild flora and fauna, and provide the local population with vital plant species for fuel, food and medicine.

In a statement, UNEP called the area “one of Afghanistan’s most beautiful and fascinating landscapes,” said that the official declaration of the Shah Foladi area represents the latest in a series of measures to conserve Afghanistan’s natural heritage and build national understanding of environmental issues.

“With growing capacity to manage and protect these areas, Afghanistan is taking major steps toward ensuring future generations will benefit from these beautiful landscapes,” continued the statement.

 UNEP has supported Afghanistan to conserve and protect its environment and natural heritage since 2002.