Maintenance and protection

Published: 06 December 2019
Last edited: 06 December 2019

GIZ conducted a cost-benefit analysis to assess the value of protecting remaining windbreaks, the benefits of straw as a fertiliser and the economic impact of a ban on burning crop residue. The survey data showed that a ban of crop residue burning would help to protect existing windbreaks. The shredding of straw during harvesting and the subsequent integration of straw into the soil builds up organic soil material and helps to store moisture in the soil.  Enhancing the soil carbon content will increase the fertility of soil. Soil carbon content is an important indicator for monitoring land degradation neutrality (LDN).

Unclear ownership and institutional responsibility are the main obstacles to building sustainability in windbreaks. At the political level, a working group under the National Forest Programme chose restoration of windbreaks as a key topic. With the support of GIZ, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture developed a policy for rehabilitation and protection of windbreaks. Buildings on this, a new law on windbreaks was initiated to clarify the situation by defining clear responsibilities for windbreak maintenance and management. As of today, the law is in the preparatory stage in the Agrarian Committee of the Georgian Parliament.

Classifications

Category
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

To ensure the sustainability of the windbreak rehabilitation, these steps are important:

  • Official approval of the new law on windbreaks
  • Initiation and development of a state programme for the rehabilitation and protection of windbreaks to ensure a degree of self-sufficiency in wheat production (for national security)
  • Introduction of alternatives to agricultural burning
  • Raising awareness of the benefits and support of land users in the use of agricultural residues (e.g., for briquetting, as straw for stables)

Lessons learned

It is important to control fires as they easily spread across fields. Should farmers continue burning, the impact can hardly be effectively mitigated. A legally enforced ban on incineration, or crop residue burning, will better protect farmers from unforeseeable fires from neighbouring farms.