Central Asia
Ibexes on th territory of hunting area 'Chakir-Corum-Trophy' in Kyrgyzstan. Spruce forest near the Issik-Kul Lake. Leskhoz Jety-Oguz.
Sustainable Pasture Management for Rural Development and an Intact Environmen

Partners: Global Environment Facility, United Nations Development Program, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Project start: 2009

Most of the territory of Kazakhstan consists of dry steppe which has traditionally been used as pastures by nomads. During the Soviet era, the nomads were made to settle down and the livestock was organized in big herds which spent the winter in the dry steppe and the summer in the mountain pastures. After the breakdown of the Soviet Union, the livestock was privatized and the rural infrastructure decayed. As a result, livestock grazes on the land close to the villages.

Unlike other countries in Central Asia, Kazakhstan has both a problem with overgrazing and under-utilization of pastures. To relieve grazing pressure in the vicinity of settlements the distant pastures have to be used seasonally by the herders.

The project demonstrated in four village districts of Zhambyl Rayon, how rangeland in Kazakhstan can be managed in a sustainable way both to the benefit of the local population and the natural environment.

For this purpose, Pasture Committees were created and the members trained in sustainable resource management. The same time, working and living conditions of herders were improved by providing yurts, solar equipment and the restoration of wells on distant pastures and migratory corridors between seasonal pastures. Unproductive fallow land was improved by seeding of perennial grass to provide additional fodder in order to relive the pressure on pasture land in the vicinity of settlements. The use of rangelands by livestock, the formation of joint herds, the protection of restored wells and the use of distant pastures were organized by the pasture committees under the supervision of the project team. The project summarized  the main results and recommendations for the sustainable management of rangelands in and development of livestock production in Kazakhstan with the publication of the “Kazakh Model for sustainable use of Rangeland resources”.

The final evaluation ranked the project as “highly succesfull”.

The recommendations and lessons learnt of the project are of high value for the Ministry of Agriculture and being used to implement the government program for the development of livestock production in Kazakhstan.