Ecosystem-based erosion control in Azerbaijan

Published: 01 August 2017
Last edited: 02 October 2020
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Pastures in the South Caucasus region are under pressure through unsustainable use and climate change processes. The GIZ Programme “Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus” inter alia implements and tests affordable solutions together with local communities, preventing erosion and managing the mountainous ecosystems in a sustainable way. Piloted measures include: stabilization of slopes and river beds, setup of hay-meadows, afforestation, orchard management and construction of a tree nursery.


West Asia, Middle East
Scale of implementation
Grassland ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Tundra or montane grassland
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Geodiversity and Geoconservation
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Land management
Sustainable livelihoods
Erratic rainfall
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge


Ehen, Ismailli, Azerbaijan


Many pastures in the mountain areas of Azerbaijan are in bad condition. High numbers of livestock and bad management practices lead to a loss of vegetation and subsequent soil erosion. Degraded pastures result in a loss of biodiversity and livelihoods and a rising risk of landslides. Estimated temperature rise and an increase in extreme weather events will accelerate land degradation. Even though a rise of rainfall might be beneficial for pastures, changing land uses and increased evaporation will amplify soil erosion. The government and district administration lack coordination and finance for the sustainable management of public pastures. Local communities are aware of the erosion problem, but no incentives and clear examples for erosion control are given by the authorities. To combat overgrazing, farmers have to be provided with alternative income generating practices, e.g. through an integrated management concept proving the economic value of sustainably used ecosystem services.


Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Ismayilli District Administration, local municipalities and local communities.

How do the building blocks interact?

Building Block 1 is concerned with the erosion control activities of the programme. Those are piloted on the local level and used later to upscale the programme and present feasible solutions to other communities. To implement the measures and guarantee a sustainable outcome, Building Block 2 describes the participatory planning and Building Block 3 gives attention to the capacity development approach.


The solution fostered the knowledge of decision makers and farmers on erosion processes and the sustainable management of biodiversity. Through various workshops, trainings and excursions the value of ecosystem services was explained and translated into the realities of the participants. The mainstreaming of biodiversity was strengthened through the facilitation of an inter-sectoral steering group on district level. Impact of different erosion control measures is being measured through a monitoring system. The implemented measures are used to demonstrate effective erosion control to stakeholders and neighbouring communities, to raise interest of politicians and local communities in ecosystem-based erosion control. The aim was to make the construction of erosion control measures affordable and easy to undertake. In Ehen village in Ismayilli region, several bioengineering and engineering measures have been implemented: steep hills have been stabilized with terraces and fruit trees, several check-dams and a gabion have been constructed in eroded river beds, areas with gully erosion have been fenced and afforested and eroded pastures have been re-established as hay-meadows. Alternative income generating practices have been supported through trainings and funding: orchard management, beekeeping and hay production.

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Markus Koeppler Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH