Forest users in Farkhor replanting pistachio. Due to a shortage of fuel local people in Muminabad forced to use walnut trees for firewood.
Adaptation to climate change through sustainable forest management

Partners: Forestry Agency under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan

Project start: 2013

Tajikistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. If neglected, the effects of climate change will continue to put strain on forest ecosystems and the local population. 

The forest resources of Tajikistan play an important role in the livelihoods of rural communities. They provide important commodities like fuel, fodder, medicinal herbs, fruits and berries, which are under strong demand by the local population. The rehabilitation and conservation of forest resources is therefore crucial in order to increase the resilience of ecosystems and populations towards the negative impacts of climate change.

Together with the Forestry Agency of the Government of Tajikistan we aim to strengthen the capacity of the forest agency, forest enterprises and forest users to rehabilitate, preserve and sustainably use forests. This will contribute to the countries adaptation to climate change, the preservation of biodiversity and the improvement of livelihoods within project areas.

We build on successful experiences with collaborative forest management in the Pamir region of Tajikistan. The central idea of Joint Forest Management is a long term lease of degraded forest land to the local population (either individual households or communities). Based on management plans and an agreed share of the benefit with the local forest enterprise, the tenant rehabilitates and uses the forest plot. As a consequence of JFM, forests will be rehabilitated to their natural composition and the proportion of local and climate resilient tree species will increase.  

We seek to demonstrate the applicability and impact of JFM in different forest ecosystems in the country: the broadleaved forests of Central Tajikistan, the xerophytes pistachio forests in Khatlon, the juniperus forest in Sogd Oblast and the tugai forests in Gorno Badakshan.

Ongoing activities include the strengthening of the forestry agency, the forest enterprises and capacity building of its staff. We have supported the development of vocational training courses for local foresters and these will soon be implemented. Best practices of adaptation to climate change in land and forest management are integrated into the curricula. Moreover, graduates from universities are encouraged and supported to work in forest enterprises.

Additionally, the establishment of proper seed management and seedling production of endemic and climate resilient tree species and varieties is supported. The JFM approach has been successfully introduced and adapted in six communities within all four forest ecosystems. 131 JFM contracts covering more than 5000 ha have been signed, and 1000 contracts are expected to be signed by the end of the project. In each community arrangements have been made concerning afforestation activities and land use changes. The ability of those forested areas to retain their water, soil and natural biodiversity will be fully recovered. The Forestry Agency, local Forest Enterprises, NGOs and the forest users have gained a complete understanding of the JFM approach and are capable of disseminating this within and beyond target areas.

For details, see the Factsheet "Adaptation to Climate Change through Sustainable Forest Management"