Achieving Ecosystem Stability on Degraded Land in Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum Desert
Owing to its geographical and climatic characteristics, Uzbekistan is highly susceptible to environmental degradation, in particular its arid ecosystems. Land degradation in Uzbekistan is caused mainly by inadequate efficiency of irrigation system and practices, extensive agriculture, deforestation, overgrazing and wind erosion.
A major distinguishing feature of land degradation in Uzbekistan is loose sand and according to the Forestry Department some 2.3 million hectares in Bukhara Oblast and 4.5 million hectares in Karakalpakstan are affected by wind erosion. Sand is blown around by the wind with negative effects ranging from impact on people’s health and well-being, reduced agricultural productivity, impact on roads and other infrastructure, contamination of water resources and environmental pollution. It has been estimated by local experts that up to five million people in Uzbekistan are affected directly, and a lot more indirectly, by wind-blown sand and dust. Overall degradation of the ecosystem affects economic and social benefits of the local population.
The main objective of the project will be to test, evaluate and promote innovative solutions to the problems of land degradation at a pilot scale in Kyzyl Rovat (Bukhara Oblast) and Kazakhdarya (Karakalpakstan) communities and replicate best practices in order to achieve ecosystem stability on degraded land in Karakalpakstan and the Kyzylkum Desert.
The objective of the project plans to be achieved through accomplishing the following project outcomes:
(i) Plant species, having both strong ecological and economic benefits for succession in desert and semi-desert ecosystems identified and sustainable land management methods tested;
(ii) Mobile sands stabilized and degraded land rehabilitated in partnership with local communities;
(iii) Institutional and policy framework for integrated land use planning and management, strengthened;
(iv) Monitoring and evaluation, learning and adaptive management, implemented.
Achievements & expected results
The project is expected to deliver the following results:
- to show that the degraded lands in deserts and semi-deserts can be rehabilitated and mobile sand stabilized providing both strong ecological and economic benefits;
- to revive traditional or introduce new sustainable land management practices and promote their wide adoption by local communities;
- to help governing institutions better address land management problems in partnership and cooperation with local communities.