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This paper presents an overview of the relationships between forest resources, forest policy and poverty in Kyrgyzstan and it makes some reference to the implications of what is happening in Kyrgyzstan to other countries in the West and Central Asian Region. While the paper deals with the linkages between forests and poverty in Kyrgyzstan as a whole, it pays particular attention to the experiences of the Collaborative Forest Management activities taking place in the walnut fruit forests in southern Kyrgyzstan. These activities commenced in 1998 as a sub-project of the Kyrgyz-Swiss Forestry Support Programme (KIRFOR). The sub-project is known as the Collaborative Forest Management Project and is implemented by the Swiss NGO Intercooperation on behalf of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The authors of this paper each have a close association with the project and the paper presents their experience and analysis of the poverty implications of the project. While the paper draws heavily on project experience, opinions expressed are not necessarily those of either Intercooperation or SDC.

Much of the data on field level activities has been collected as part of postgraduate research by Kaspar Schmidt (PhD candidate, University of Reading, UK) and Nurlan Akenshaev (Master’s degree candidate, Kyrgyz National University). Similarly, analysis and interpretation of this data forms part of their degree work and this paper acknowledges their intellectual contribution.

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