People in Uzbekistan’s forested areas benefit from FAO projects
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- Forests are the lungs of the planet. They perform a number of important ecological functions, including preserving biological diversity, protecting watersheds, and preventing soil degradation and desertification.
But the main ecological task of forests and woodlands, affecting climate change mitigation, remains carbon sequestration, retention of sand and dust, and regulation of water balance. And this is especially important for most of the Central Asian countries located in the arid climatic zone, including Uzbekistan.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) project "Sustainable Forest Management in Mountainous and Valley Areas of Uzbekistan", implemented by the Representative Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Uzbekistan, together with the State Forestry Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, aims to sustainably maintain the target dynamics ensuring continuous, non-destructive multipurpose forest management, conservation and enhancement of productivity, sustainability and biodiversity of forests.
The project implementation includes 4 components:
• Information management systems for sustainable forest management.
• Multifunctional forest management leading to carbon sequestration, improved forest and wood resources, and other benefits.
• Scaling up sustainable forest management - with carbon sequestration - by strengthening an enabling environment.
• Monitoring, evaluation and knowledge sharing.
In cooperation with the State Forestry Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Forest Research Institute, design organizations and forestry farms improved methods of sustainable forest management are being developed and put into practice.
As a result, the range of ecosystem services is expanding, joint activities are being implemented to increase the area of forests and forest cover, which contribute to an annual increase in carbon sequestration, other social, economic and environmental benefits are realized.
The work is being carried out at 4 demonstration plots representing various types of forest ecosystems in Uzbekistan - Syrdarya, Dekhkanabad, Kitab and Pap state forestry. The project demonstration areas are located in both mountainous and valley regions of the forest fund.
For example, the Pap State Forestry specializes in the conservation and production of medicinal and aromatic plants. Here, trees are also planted using the principles of rational use of drainage basins, pistachio forestry is being developed, based on an agroforestry approach. At the same time, the local population is actively involved in the processes of rational use of natural meadows and the protection of natural forests, with particular attention to ensuring social benefits and gender equality.
- The FAO Representative Office in Uzbekistan organized a series of trainings, during which we gained knowledge and skills on planting Tien Shan spruce seedlings, fast-growing tree species for obtaining fuel wood, medicinal plants. We have learned to grow seedlings of ornamental plants in a greenhouse, says Abdurahim Khudaiberganov, who lives in Pap district of Namangan region. - With regard to non-timber forest resources, training sessions were organized on the processing of local raw materials - wool. The women gained experience in the manufacture of woolen blankets, which had a beneficial effect on solving the issues of their employment and obtaining additional income.
Maston Tursunova, a resident of Dekhkanabad district of Kashkadarya region, is very pleased that when implementing projects, FAO pays special attention to ensuring gender equality. Indeed, where rural women enjoy equal access to productive resources, services and economic opportunities, rural women increase significantly agricultural production and provide immediate and long-term social and economic benefits that contribute to overall poverty and hunger reduction. This is especially true in rural areas with a predominantly female population, where men leave their families for a long time, going to work in other countries.
“Thanks to the assistance of the FAO Office in Uzbekistan, I am successfully engaged in poultry farming. Currently I am raising 200 heads of turkeys. And in the leshoz, construction work began on the creation of a poultry house for 1000 turkeys. This will allow me to significantly expand my activities,” said Maston Tursunova.
Thus, while ensuring sustainable forest management, these territories can make an impressive contribution to reducing carbon emissions, protecting nature, and improving the living standards of the local population. Removing barriers to sustainable forest management will contribute to increased forest cover, social and economic benefits from forests, and improved forestry efficiency.