Sustainable land use management in Konegummez village, Turkmenistan

Konegummez Village
Published: 18 February 2019
Last edited: 09 July 2019
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Summary

Konegummez village is located in the southwestern part of the Kopetdag mountains of Turkmenistan, bordering with Iran, at an altitude of 1,350 meters above sea level. The village hosts 200 families, with a population of about 1,229 people who live in a semi-arid climate and make their living by livestock keeping and agriculture, mainly.

Based on the villagers’ social strengths and will and supported by international development projects, nowadays the village is an excellent example for collectively planning and managing natural resources and agriculture with improved ecosystem services and biodiversity whilst generating income in a sustainable way.

In the following, the social, organizational and technical issues which led the Konegummez community to having success, will be described.

Classifications

Region
North and Central Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Desert ecosystems
Hot desert
Orchard
Rangeland / Pasture
Theme
Adaptation
Agriculture
Ecosystem services
Forest Management
Land management
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Challenges
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources

Location

Konegummez, Turkmenistan

Challenges

Konegummez village is situated in a semi-arid climate in mountain areas. Water has always been a scarce resource, as well as fertile soil for agriculture.

Due to sharp population and livestock number growth, the natural juniperus forests of the area, protecting soil and providing water have been degraded. Also, natural pastures have been degraded significantly.  In 1930, about 150 dwellers lived in the village with 800 heads of small ruminants and 100 heads of cattle. Cat present, 1,229 people live in the village owning a total of 5,000 heads of small ruminants and 700 heads of cattle.

Under these conditions, the local population had to look for ways to sustainably manage pastures, conserving and restoring remaining forests, develop water harvesting techniques and look for other income sources.

Beneficiaries

Beneficiary of the land management measures developed is the entire population of Konegummez village, whose main income sources are livestock keeping and agriculture.

How do the building blocks interact?

All building blocks are part of one sustainable and integrated land use management approach. On the one hand, there are ‘hard’ components, like BB1, BB2 and BB3, focusing on natural resource management, agriculture and animal husbandry. On the other hand, there are ‘soft’ dimensions of the approach, related to peoples’ behaviour, interactions and social-cultural relations.

The ‘hard’ components do not work without the ‘soft’ components. Successful land management approaches are implemented by well-organised, motivated and keen to learn people. People and their social-cultural interactions are the foundation.

Impacts

Sustainable land use management calls for integrating social-cultural, ecological, economic and technical aspects, in order to be successful. The Konegummez village is an excellent example of how integrating these elements can work in practice.

The villagers have been able to:

  • Combining traditional forms of local organisation, as bayars (elected residents who have extensive experience in animal husbandry) who control livestock number and new informal committees for collectively planning pasture management and natural resources conservation.
  • Consciously and collectively planning the use and management of natural resources and agriculture, based on agreed and written planning, followed by monitoring.
  • To restore and protect natural pastures against degradation, by farmers reducing their livestock by 30% (from 7,500 to 5,000 heads of small ruminants) to a sustainable level.
  • Engaging in alternative, for the area innovative forms of agriculture, as, for instance, vegetables grown in green houses growing fruit trees with irrigation, intensifying and concentrating agricultural production on smaller plots of land.
  • Sustainable water harvesting and water management: construction of 4 water wells 130-140 meter depth  and 5 catchment dams, where reservoirs with large volumes of water have been formed and reforestation by planting of 10,000 juniper seedlings on mountain slopes.

Story

Konegummez Village

In 2014, in the village, local farmers with support of an international development project built the first greenhouse with a base area of 90 m². At the general meeting of the village, it was decided to appoint the village leader and elder of the village, who enjoys great respect among the population, with the responsibility to manage the greenhouse.

The purpose of the construction of this greenhouse was to train local farmers in the special features of growing crops in greenhouses, thereby adapting to the negative impacts of climate change and reducing possible risks associated with. According to the elder, in the first year bell pepper, chili and tomatoes were grown in the greenhouse. The elder distributed the harvest free of charge to the locals. When asked why he did so, he replied that at his age he does not need material wealth, for him the most important wealth is the well-being of his fellow villagers. If the residents understand that building a greenhouse is important, then they will start building greenhouses by themselves and thereby ensure the economic well-being of their families and their fellow villagers by providing affordable and healthy products. A year after the first harvest of the first greenhouse, three more greenhouses were built in the village and several more residents began to visit the elder for consultation.   

Contributed by

Henning Peter PICOTEAM Ltd.

Other contributors

Kurban Abdyrahmanov, community leader
Konegummez Village
Freelance consultant
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH