Contact person:

Ms. Edith Koshkin
(Project Manager)
tel.: +996 312 90 93 40

Nursery of walnut seedlings in Achinskiy leskhoz. Natural resources management planning by staff memebers of Kaba leskhoz and local people in Bazar-Korgon rayon.
Community-based management of walnut forests and pasture in Southern Kyrgyzstan

Partners: State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of the Kyrgyz Republic, PF Camp Alatoo, Public Ecological Union «LesIC South", NGO "AgroLid", Rural Advisory Service (Jalal-Abad)UNIQUE forestry and land use GmbH (Germany)

Project period: 2014-2018

The woodlands of southern Kyrgyzstan form an important hotspot of biological diversity, despite their small size. Many domesticated varieties of fruit and nut trees originate in the walnut and wild fruit forests. Preserving these species is of national and global significance. The forests naturally regulate the water cycle in downstream areas. The livelihood of the local population is highly dependent on these natural resources, especially nuts, pasture and timber. With an accelerating rate of glacier melt, Kyrgyzstan is amongst the countries predicted to be most severely affected by global climate change. This is expected to exacerbate soil erosion, resulting in landslides and deterioration of pasture and forest resources. The existing system of forest and pasture use is not is not able to cope with these changes: 50-70% of pastureland has already been degraded due to livestock overgrazing.

Since September 2015 the UNIQUE forestry and land use GmbH is an implementing agency of the project. Together with national and local partners, it aims to introduce a modern and rational model of sustainable forest and pasture management in southern Kyrgyzstan in order to promote the conservation of biodiversity, support adaptation to climate change and increase local incomes.

The project is active in Bazar-Korgon, a district of the Jalal-Abad region in a watershed of approximately 125,000 hectares. Of this total, 13,000 hectares are covered by natural walnut forests – the largest of their kind in the world. Around 36,700 hectares are used as pasture. Highlands and settlements constitute the rest of the territory, which is home to more than 47,000 people.

The UNIQUE focuses its work on three three main aspects.

The first is to support state agencies and local communities (forest enterprises, pasture committees, local self-government, etc.) to develop a joint management model for natural resources. Forest and pasture users are already actively involved in this process. Besides supporting the introduction of national forestry reform, joint management at the local level will help to establish a balance between the roles and responsibilities of different actors involved in land management. Pastures and forests should be managed in accordance with the principles of sustainability, ensuring the protection of existing biodiversity. This management approach will improve not only the ecological condition of the forests and pastures, but also the living standards of the local resource users.

The second field of action strives to increase the forested area by planting forests with a mixture of walnut and fruit trees, which are well-adapted to climate change. These activities build on results from recent agroforestry research, as well as innovations from earlier projects. Six local forest enterprises (leskhozes) receive assistance in planting young trees. Seedlings from the gene pool of native species are to be grown in nurseries and then planted on deforested land.

The third field of action focuses on the improvement of livelihoods for the local population. The assumption is that if local people have other, more sustainable options for the use of the forest resources, then walnut forests can recover. Alternative methods of income generation are also introduced on a broader scale. For instance, farmers’ cooperatives are assisted by providing specialized trainings on water and soil conservation technologies, construction of greenhouses and improvement of livestock quality. An information campaign on energy efficient technologies is being carried out in order to reduce unnecessary tree cutting. Within the scope of this campaign, local people are being trained in home insulation technologies.

Due to such complex action forests will be restored, and the amount of tree cutting for fuel will be reduced as the population will acquire alternative and sustainable methods of forest use.


Factsheet "Community-based Walnut Forest and Pasture Management in Southern Kyrgyzstan"