Ecosystem-based land use and conservation of the ecosystems at the lower course of the Amu Darya river
As of: August 2020
Objective and activities
The Tugai floodplains are typical of the lower course of the Amu Darya river in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and they are unique forest ecosystems. However, the floodplains are severely degraded, and their area has declined to less than ten percent of their original size. This degradation is mainly due to the expansion of irrigation farming, overuse of land, and poor management practices. The project promotes ecosystem-based land use and the conservation and restoration of the region's ecosystems. To this end, the project develops land use concepts aimed at restoring degraded agricultural land and increasing its productivity. Besides, the project provides for a transfer of knowledge on ecosystem-based adaptation and alternative land use options at various levels. It also develops the skills of local stakeholders in the implementation of new land-use methods. The approaches developed through the project will be made available to national decision-makers and international development partners for up-scaling./
State of implementation/results
- In May 2018, a potential analysis of the Biosphere Reserve at the lower reaches of Amu Darya and of Tugai forest was initiated
- 53 representatives of various state organizations, research institutes, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of Uzbekistan and international institutions took part in the kick-off seminar in Tashkent.
- In November 2018, analyses were carried out in collaboration with the French International Research Institute for Agriculture CIRAD and 272 GPS points of different biomes of the "Tugai" floodplain forest ecosystem were mapped. This allows the boundaries of the different zones of the biosphere reserve (core, buffer and transition zones) to be identified in accordance with the UNESCO concept and the vegetation to be qualitatively assessed.
- In November 2018, the annual results were also presented and the further development of strategic plans within the programme was discussed. This also included an exchange on the topic of "biosphere reserve" with journalists. A total of 130 people took part in the event, including representatives of the State Forestry Authority, the State Committee for Environmental Protection, the "Michael Succow Foundation", the NGO KRASS (Khorezm Agro-Consultative Centre), the "Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan", the "Lower Amu Darya" Biosphere Reserve, other state authorities and NGOs, government representatives of the Republic of Karakalpakistan, the Khorezm Region and the Republic of Turkmenistan as well as journalists and students.
- During this seminar, the main results of the analyses carried out during the year regarding the eligibility of the Lower Amu Darya Biosphere Reserve (LABR) for the UNESCO programme were presented. The questions of the critical size of the reserve, which can enable ecological sustainability, the boundaries and zoning of the reserve and the necessary legal basis were examined. The workshop was also used to present preliminary results to Uzbek journalists on the expected impacts of climate change on agriculture in the region and to achieve a better understanding of the biosphere reserve and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.
- Between October and December 2018, an "Amu Darya Day" celebration was held in Tashkent and in Karakalpakstan, including a 3 km cross-country competition and a "round table" with representatives of the relevant ministries and departments, the NGOs, and universities involved. In addition, a meeting with students, a drawing competition "Amu Darya: Present and Future" and a photo competition " Amu Darya in the camera lens" were organized, as well as the publication of an ecological calendar. The aim of these events was to draw the public's attention to the problems along the Amu Darya River, especially to the current status of the "Tugai Forests" at the lower reaches of the Amu Darya. More than 200 people took part in the events with good media echo, among them, besides journalists and students, mainly representatives of the State Forestry Committee, the State Environmental Protection Committee, members of the local parliament "Jokargi Kenes" of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, the "Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan", the Biosphere Reserve "Lower Amu Darya" as wellas other state authorities and NGOs.
- In February 2019, the project director and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (Government) discussed the legal status of the Lower Amu Darya Biosphere Reserve, but also the cooperation and coordination in finding solutions for problems between the creation of protected areas and land users were considered during a meeting with the mayors (Hakims) of the two regions, (Amu Darya and Beruniy). Questions concerning protection measures and solutions to the so-called "man-stag" conflict were also discussed. In addition, possibilities for scientific cooperation and the involvement of scientists and students from the Agrarian University in Nukuss were examined.