Central Asia is one of the world’s least-forested regions. With the exception of Turkey and Azerbaijan, forest cover is significantly less than 11%. In all countries, the forests are still fully owned by state and management is still largely based on the Soviet system of state forestry enterprises. The fact that public institutions are responding to the challenges of the transition period - and the new economic, political, social and environmental priorities associated with it – shows the need for a profound reform for forestry sector in the sub-region.
Despite their limited areas, forests and woodlands provide important environmental services. The harsh environmental conditions prevailing in the region underscore the need to pay greater attention to the protective functions of forests. Climate change, land degradation, desertification, water scarcity and loss of biodiversity are the more serious challenges in the sub-region.
Wood fuel remains an important source of energy for rural people, and non-wood forest products (especially, nuts, fruit, mushrooms and honey) are a significant source of food and income.
The main area of attention for FAO is to provide policy and technical advice, focusing on institutional adaptation and broader stakeholder participation in the framework of national forest programmes. Capacity building, networking and provision of services for forest resources assessments and wildlife and protected areas management are also important components of FAO support.
Forestry Officer: Ekrem YAZICI