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Sustainanble land management in Central Asia

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By a decision made during the first meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Agreement in Caucasus and Central Asia held in Astana, over 2,5 mln hectares of forests will be restored in Central Asia by 2030. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Georgia have taken responsibilities in this area.

In the last 50 years, the population of the Central Asian region has tripled. The Central Asian region is facing serious food security challenges with the need to feed larger number of people amongst increasingly limited water resources and highly variable climatic conditions. Owing to its geographical and climatic characteristics, aggravated by impacts of anthropogenic pressures, Central Asian countries are severely affected by desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD).

Central Asia is an arid to semi-arid region, where the majority of the area (68%) is occupied by sparsely vegetated deserts and grass/scrublands. It includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan countries. The major agro-ecological regions for crop production include irrigated cropland, rain-fed cropland, pastures, steppes and mountains.

The significant environmental stressors on agricultural lands are leading to declining productivity of agro-ecosystems and reduced livelihood security in production landscapes.


Achievements at a glance.
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Following the success and the lesson learned from the previous Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM), a second phase of “CACILM” is supported by GEF and is implemented by FAO (FAOSEC and AGL).

The overall objective of “CACILM 2” is to scale up integrated natural resources management (INRM) in drought prone and salt affected agricultural production landscapes in the Central Asian countries and Turkey. Adoption of integrated landscape management approaches and INRM practices should help stabilize and even reverse trends of soil salinization, reduce erosion, improve water capture and retention, increase the sequestration of carbon, and reduce loss of agrobiodiversity, thereby reducing the desertification trend in terms of extent and severity.

The project is structured as a program with one multi-country component addressing shared priorities at multi-county level, two components at national level ensuring national implementation in selected production landscapes/land use systems, and one M&E component. The needs of disadvantaged groups, gender and age issues are given consideration throughout the project’s implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Enhanced synergies of INRM/SLM interventions in the region to broaden the CACILM partnership an enhance support from Central Asian countries and Turkey, donors, NGOs, civil society and the private sector across the region.

Transition from pasture land to fruit and fodder plots

The site of the pasture on hills degraded as a result of a overgrazing is fenced and prepared for cultivation of grapes, fruits and herbs by an establishment of terraces, application of manure, planting of trees and irrigation.

The areas in the Varzob valley of Tajikistan with steep slopes of ca. 30% represent the degraded pastures. The soil surface, which has been almost deprived of vegetation, is compacted and is subject to erosion. In 1982, a landholder innovator planted grapes and fruit trees on 0.5 ha and above this site prepared another site for grass cultivation on hay on his own initiative. In five years the degraded site turned into a site of sustainable land use.

Rotation of pastures in desert regions of Uzbekistan

The technology consists of Improvement of the scheme of cattle grazing provides restoration of pastoral vegetation and observance of a normative load on pastures.

In Uzbekistan, pastureland is transferred to shirkats on an unlimited basis or to farms for a long-term rent. The population uses shirkat pastures for grazing of personal cattle, the number of which sometimes exceeds the number of a shirkat flock. The cattle is grazed in the same pastures all year round and degradation occurs because of an overgrazing and passage of cattle along the same routes.

Based on traditional approaches, the technology pursues the aim to mitigate the degradation of pastures and to create conditions for self-restoration of pasture vegetation. For this purpose, each flock of 800 heads is provided with two sources of drinking water. The area of 7850 ha around a water source is divided into 2 sectors by diameter. Each sector is divided into 3 rotational sites. Under the existing productivity of pastures, one sector provides 800 heads of sheep with sterns during 90 days, the entire spring period. In summer the flock is overtaken to the second sector, and in the autumn to the second water well where the sheep grazing on rotational sites is done in the same sequence: in the first sector in autumn, in the second in winter. The rotational grazing provides a planned rest and a chance to plants to replenish energy and growth.

Planting crops along the ridges

Crop planting in ridges is carried out by a special seeder, which simultaneously forms ridges, plants along and between the ridges, makes furrows for irrigation, stimulating a reduction in irrigation erosion and reduction of irrigation water use.

Ridge planting technology is applied in the CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan etc.) for the cultivation of cereals, legumes, vegetables, technical and oilseed crops. Ridge sowing of the grain crops can be done on almost all gray soils, gray-brown soils with medium and light texture. Width between ridges is 60-70 cm.

It is possible to sow 2-3 rows of crops with a distance of 15 cm on the ridge. The seed rate of grain crops is 100-150 kg/ha instead of 200-250 kg/ha with traditional method of seeding. Raised bed planting technology creates an optimal water-air and thermal regimes for agricultural crops, provides high efficiency of furrow irrigation, water saving by 25-30% and increase of the yield of winter wheat from 5 to 8.3 t/ha.

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