1. What is this land use practice about?
Tajikistan is a mountainous country that is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: climate- related hazards, such as landslides, floods, and droughts are not uncommon, while remote populations that rely upon their natural environment to ensure their livelihoods have very limited coping capacities to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters. It is expected that climate change – related risks will increase in the coming decades. Extreme weather events in particular are expected to become erratic and unpredictable. Sustainable management of forests can help to attenuate the risks associated with climate change by: a) reducing the likelihood and intensity of expected hazards
(via soil stabilisation, reduced erosion, flood protection); and b) increasing the resilience of local populations (via increased economic opportunities, diversification of options for energy supply, and legally guaranteed tenure rights). Forests play a key role in the lives of Tajikistan’s rural population. Firewood, fodder, medicinal plants, fruit, and nuts can be sold locally at a profit and thus represent an important source of income. Forests also perform an essential function in regulating the water balance and providing protection against natural disasters. Rehabilitating and protecting forests is therefore of vital importance in the process of strengthening resilience and adapting to climate change.
Unfortunately, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, increased demand for fuelwood led to widespread deforestation. This made Tajikistan more vulnerable to climate change. Conflicts over land use rights between forestry offices and the local population also continue to lead to overuse and degradation of forest resources.
The experience of GIZ has shown that measures to strengthen the capacities of forest authorities and forest users to plan, implement and monitor sustainable forest management, as well as to settle land use conflicts, function best when they are consensus-oriented. In this way, measures taken can lead to the rehabilitation of degraded forest areas, greater availability of fuelwood and increased earnings from forest management activities. Integrating biodiversity conservation into the capacity building process further promotes the long-term stability of forests and helps to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.
2. Cornerstones of Forest Management
Successful forest management requires a multilevel and multi-dimensional approach. Piloting integrative forest management approaches based upon rehabilitation, protection, and reforestation is as important as supporting appropriate forest governance and management structures which enable sustainable forest use planning and monitoring. Forests-based economic development based upon timber, pasture, non-timber forest products (NTFP) or tourism provides the opportunity to take advantage of economic incentives to promote sustainable management approaches among the local population and forest management institutions.
The most important fundamental elements of forest management, as land-use practices, are:
1. Rehabilitation of the forest
2. Forest protection
3. Afforestation and reforestation
4. Forest management and management planning
5. Business development