Ecosystem based adaptation of the rain-fed montane mountains of Ugam Chatkal National Park

The large mountain foothills of Uzbekistan were once covered by resilient native plants among others almond (Amygdalus spp.) and pistachio (Pistacia vera). Intensive land use practices caused large-scale degradation into low productive wheat fields and pastures which became almost unprofitable with decreasing trend considering climate change.

 

The rehabilitation of ecosystem functions of the natural pistachio communities are to consider as the most effective measure against climate change. At the same time degradation processes are reduced and habitats for many species are re-established. Practice shows that even the smartest land use change approaches are worthless if the basic needs and interests of people in place are not met. This is where the current project approach is showing its performance. Economic analysis run in the frame of a feasibility study calculate much more income from pistachio harvest than current (unsustainable) land use practices provide. The more it becomes vivid taking the ongoing degradation of the ecosystem under current land use practices into consideration that decrease income prospects dramatically.

 

For farmers there exists a risk to bridge the time from planting pistachio trees to first harvest which occurs after about 7 years. The feasibility studies has developed business models to minimize the risks by agroforestry approaches by growing inter row crops as pick cheas, melon, safflower, rose-hip and others. Farmers receive revenues while pistachio trees grow to first harvest.

Since the project aims at a maximum adaptation by farmers in Tashkent province (roll out) the establishment of so called “pistachio growing centers” is envisaged. These centers provide different varieties of trees furthermost pistachio and almond as a source for grafting on the one hand and provide training facilities and advise on the other hand, as a business model for farmers. The pistachio growing centers are thought to become initial points from which knowledge, practical skills, seedlings and inoculation material will get distributed on province level

 

The feasibility study has identified five farmers who meet the needs for cooperation and may provide ground for the “pistachio growing center”. Besides the carbon storage capacity of one hectare pistachio forest has been calculated with about 144 tC for the period of maximum tree growth, so the first 40 years.

 

The project is financed in the framework of the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Co-operation) and jointly implemented with the Republican Scientific-Production Center for Decorative Gardening and Forestry.

 

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Project coordination:

Jens Wunderlich, email: jens.wunderlich(at)succow-stiftung.de