Published: 24 July 2018
Last edited: 31 July 2019
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Summary

In Tajikistan, forests have suffered from deforestation due to an energy shortage after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today a weak forest governance system and imprecise land use rights lead to mismanagement and consequently a slow reforestation process. A weak financial infrastructure and a steady inflow of remittances have entailed an increase in livestock which has resulted in land use conflicts, enforced by few and partially contradicting regulations. A changing climate, increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters intensifies the pressure on communities and their surrounding ecosystems. Consequently, climate change adaptation, sustainable pasture management, and clear land use rights must form an integral part of forest management. This solution forms a guideline for integrative forest management rooted in the Joint Forest Management (JFM) approach, accounting for adaptation to climate change, sustainable pasture management, biodiversity preservation, and gender equity.

Classifications

Region
North and Central Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Forest ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate evergreen forest
Tundra or montane grassland
Theme
Adaptation
Disaster risk reduction
Forest Management
Gender mainstreaming
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Land management
Legal & policy frameworks
Other theme
Pasture managment
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 13 – Climate action
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
(I)NDC Submission

Location

Panjakent, Sughd Province, Tajikistan | GBAO, Vanj, Tavildara, Jirgetol, Khovaling, Baljavan, Farkhor, Danghara

Challenges

Tajikistan is among the Central Asian countries most severely affected by climate change. This is evident from the growing incidence of natural disasters, such as landslides, floods and droughts, and a general decline in the availability and quality of water. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, large areas were deforested to meet the need for fuelwood, especially during the severe civil war from 1992 to 1997. This now makes the country more vulnerable to climate change and exacerbates its negative impacts. Land use conflicts further contribute to the overuse and degradation of forest areas. Forest land is increasingly in competition with insufficient pasture land, which has resulted in many forest areas being grazed. A weak financial system and a steady inflow of remittances have stimulated the investment in cattle which has resulted in much pasture land and forests being overgrazed. Forest landscape restoration, consequently, requires an integrative and multi-level solution.

Beneficiaries

Main beneficiaries of the approach are forest tenants, who receive land use rights for a forest plot over a period of 20 years. Secondary beneficiaries are the local representatives of the state forest agency (State Forest Enterprises). 

How do the building blocks interact?

Joint Forest Management builds the basis for sustainable forest management with the capacity development modules and the work on national level as two of its most important components, while the landscape perspective is an extension to address current environmental, economic, and social challenges. The building blocks together build a successful integrative forest management solution that can be flexibly adapted and redesigned modular to a different context.

Impacts

Integrative forest management addresses not only environmental but also social and economic challenges by applying a landscape perspective.

Reforestation of forest land is especially important where climate change impacts are severe.  Forests perform an essential function in regulating the water balance and decreased vulnerability to natural hazards while forest biodiversity improves soil structure and fertility, reduces the risk of pests, and increases the number of pollinators. However, a growing number of cattle has not only resulted in degraded pastures but also in forest grazing. Forest grazing impedes forest regeneration and harms the root system, which further increases the risk of soil erosion.

The integrative forest management approach is based on the Joint Forest Management (JFM) approach, where individuals take an active role in sustainable forest management and in return receive a fair share of the harvest, based on clear and transparent land use rights for 20 years. These land use rights allow for long-term thinking, and consequently, enable forest tenants to make sustainable management decisions.

From an economic perspective, forests play a key role. Firewood, fodder, medicinal plants, fruit and nuts represent an important source of income. Consequently, through JFM the forest tenants gain economic benefit from their forest plot.

Story

GIZ

“Joint Forest Management has motivated me and many of my neighbours to rehabilitate our forests”, says Mr. Khandamir Khujamerov. He is one of 20 forest tenants in the Sarazm community, who have signed JFM contracts with the State Forest Enterprise in Penjikent. The tenants have jointly rehabilitated about 20 hectares of riparian forests along the Zeravshan riverbank. In spring, when the temperatures rise, the Zeravshan river carries the meltwater from the mountains to the lowlands and regularity causes flooding. After a strong winter, the river reaches the villages and causes damage to settlements and washes of the hummus on arable land. Climate change has further increased the water levels due to melting glaciers. Reforestation along the river bank has helped to keep the river at bay.

Since Mr. Khujamerov has signed his JFM contract in 2013, he has planted over 500 trees on 4.3 hectares and has installed a fence to protect the seedlings from grazing cattle. In his forest management and annual plans, he decides together with the local forest expert how to rehabilitate his plots and which tree species to grow. In 2016, Mr. Khujamerov has diversified his forest plots with willow and poplar trees and planted sea buckthorn along the fence, which due to its thorns keeps cattle well away.

“Forests are one of the most important natural resources for us and they are of great importance in people's lives, especially in rural areas like our village”, explains Mr. Khujamerov. Indeed, forests provide rural communities not only with firewood but also non-timber forest products, such as medicinal herbs, fruits, and nuts.

Mr. Lumonov, director of the State Forest Enterprise, says: “thanks to very engaged forest tenants, as Mr. Khujamerov, the JFM approach has spread to other villages in the Zerafshan valley, and more and more communities are approaching us with interest to conclude a JFM contract”. He further explains that the JFM approach not only positively contributes to the rehabilitation of forest areas, but also to a sustainable development of the communities. Forest tenants have joined forces to perform forest activities, such as pruning or fencing, together. This has significantly strengthened the sense of community along the Zerafshan river.

“We – the local people are obliged to save the forest for our children and grandchildren”, concludes Mr. Khujamerov, “for every tree that has fallen in this country, we need to plant at least two new ones.”

Contributed by

Nicole Pfefferle Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH