Forest monitoring and assessment
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Sustainable forest management in the Kyrgyz Republic
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic sought assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project, to strengthen national capacities to monitor and assess the country's forest and trees resources in an integrated land use approach. Understanding the economic value and potential of these resources is important, said Dan Altrell, an FAO Forestry Officer and the TCP's Lead Technical Officer, especially as "the Kyrgyz Republic transitions from a planned economy to a more market-based one." Up-to-date data generated from scientific, evidence-based assessments can inform national policies, legislation and programmes aimed at improving rural livelihoods and sustainability.
Forest coverage is relatively modest in the mountainous Kyrgyz Republic − roughly 5.6 percent of the country. Yet more than one million of the nation's 5.5 million people live in or near forests, relying on wood for heating and construction. For many households, walnuts, pistachios and fruit, such as apples, pears and plums, provide food and income.
The country's forests also play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion, mudflows, landslides and avalanches. They regulate mountain run-off so that rivers flow more evenly throughout the year − important for the Kyrgyz Republic and other Central Asian countries where farming relies heavily on irrigation. But decades of overuse, including intensive livestock grazing, particularly during Soviet times, have taken a toll on the country's natural resources. Logging, as well as fires to clear land for farming or pasture, have damaged or destroyed forest cover.
In addition to degrading soils and habitats, these activities release carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, said Dinara Rakhmanova, Assistant FAO Representative in Kyrgyzstan. "Sustainable forest management is a new notion for the Kyrgyz Republic," she said. "With this project we've made a big effort to raise awareness among local communities on the importance of saving the biological and landscape diversity, as well as the environmental functions and the aesthetic and recreational values of existing forests," she added.
Filling information gaps
Before the project, the country had an incomplete picture of its forest resources. In 2005, national surveying crews inventoried about 60 percent of the state-administered forests, leaving a significant information gap. Moreover, inventories focused mainly on timber production rather than on the multiple ways forests benefit local communities − environmentally, socially and economically. The project, therefore, aimed to help the Government design and carry out a comprehensive national forest inventory on all forest types and land properties. The project was carried out in two phases, in partnership with the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry and with additional funding from the Government of Kyrgyzstan and the Swiss-Kyrgyz Forestry Support Programme. The project brought together major stakeholders working on forest and tree resource management, civil society, NGOs, forest services, scientists, line ministries and international partners, to agree on a sector-integrated approach to assess the country’s forestry resources and their multiple functions. Such an approach is crucial for meeting national information needs, and for gaining a better understanding of the relationship between plant biodiversity and carbon storage. The stakeholders also reached consensus on setting up a long-term natural resource monitoring system.
Building national capacity
More than 50 staff from the Department of Forest, Hunting and Ground Inventory (DFHGI) received training on national forest management assessments, including analysing, managing and disseminating collected data. A national forest vegetation and land use classification system for remote-sensing surveys was developed. In addition, FAO and the DFHGI worked closely to design a database to store and manage information from the forest and land assessments. The project team published findings from the assessment in both Russian and English to help get the word out on the state of the country's forests and natural resources.
One of the biggest achievements was in strengthening country-level capacity, said Altrell − and in galvanizing stakeholder support. "There's strong national ownership," he said. "The Republic had very few means, but they were driving this project, making new partnerships and alliances to support the inventory."
The inventory identified forests outside of state-owned forest funds and protected areas not previously included in official statistics. As a result, national forest and shrubby vegetation coverage was updated from 4 to 5.6 percent. The Government officially adopted these new figures and has begun to review and amend existing national forest legislation and policies to cover these areas. Furthermore, the project's results served as a baseline for a national forest policy, developed by the Government in consultation with local authorities and communities, NGOs and other stakeholders, that will run until 2025.
It also served as baseline information for several new FAO projects. One is a nearly USD 5.5 million project, funded by the Global Environment Facility, on sustainably managing the Republic's mountain forest and land resources under climate change conditions. Another is a more than USD 5 million German-funded project on national forest monitoring and information systems for a transparent and truthful REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), targeting 18 countries, including the Kyrgyz Republic.
Keeping the momentum going is crucial. That means having the wherewithal to repeat such national assessments regularly and to be able to generate and manage new data. The country continues to face big environmental challenges, like erosion, that cut across sectors and that require an integrated approach. There is a need, for example, to find a better balance between livestock breeding − an important livelihood source in the Republic − and sustainable natural resource management. "These types of assessments are important because they provide good information for decision-making not just on forestry but on agriculture, livestock and water management," said Altrell.
FAO's TCP projects are targeted, short-term catalytic projects that leverage FAO's technical expertise to address specific problems in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural livelihoods among FAO member countries, producing tangible and immediate results in a cost-effective manner.
National Forest Assessment Documents
22 December 2010 Бишкек (АКИ press ) - Национальная инвентаризация лесов Кыргызстана показала удовлетворительные результаты, сообщила на пресс-конференции в агентстве «Кабар» начальник отдела Управления экологического мониторинга и лесоохотоустройства Венера Сураппаева. По ее словам, мониторинг показал, что леса составляют 5,6% территории республики. «Сейчас была определена площадь лесов, и теперь необходимо определить их границы и принадлежность, кто будет за ними следить», - сказала она. «При следующей инвентаризации мы сможем сравнить, увеличиваются или уменьшаются площади лесов республики», - отметила она. Как отметил статс-секретарь Госагентства охраны окружающей среды и лесного хозяйства Абдымитал Ченгожоев, инвентаризация лесов велась последние 2 года. Определялись не только площади лесов, но и качественный и породный состав. Инвентаризация проводилась не по советской методике, используемой ранее, а по новой методике, предложенной донорами [more]
22 December 2010 Bishkek (AKI) - National forest inventory of Kyrgyzstan has shown satisfactory results, announced at a press conference in agency "Kabar" Head of the Office of Environmental Monitoring and Forest inventory Venera Surappaeva. According to her, monitoring has shown that forests cover 5.6% of the country. "It has been defined forest area, and now we need to define their boundaries and ownership, who will manage them" - she said. "The next time we will through the inventory be able to evaluate the trends in increasing or decreasing forest area of the country", - she said. As noted by the State Secretary of the State Agency of Environment and Forestry Abdymital Chengozhoev, the national forest inventory was carried out during the last 2 years and it assessed not only the forest area, but also its quality and species composition. The inventory was not carried out by the “Soviet method” previously used, but new methods provided by donors (FAO). [more]
22 December 2010 КАБАР, 17 декабря 2010 года. «В Кыргызстане завершена национальная инвентаризация лесов», - заявил сегодня на пресс-конференции в Агентстве «КАБАР» статс-секретарь Государственного агентства охраны окружающей среды и лесного хозяйства республики Абдымитал Чынгожоев.По его словам, эта работа была начата в 2008 году при поддержке проекта ФАО (продовольственная и сельскохозяйственная организация Объединенных Наций). Каждые 5 лет в нашей стране проводился учет лесного фонда по советской методике. Но этот метод уже устарел. Такая работа в странах СНГ ведется впервые, Кыргызстан попал как пилотная страна и наши сотрудники работали в составе этой группе.«Это очень большая работа. Мы хотели получить достоверные данные о наших лесах, и мы должны думать о завтрашнем сохранении лесов», - отметил статс-секретарь.В результате инвентаризации лесистость составляет 1123045,2 га – 5,26% из них на территории государственного лесного фонда (ГЛФ) и особо охраняемых природных территории (ООПТ) – 846043,4 га или 4,23%, также вне территории ГЛФ и ООПТ -277001,8 га или 1,39%. Также участники обсудили наболевшую проблему вырубки ёлок в преддверии Нового года. По словам А.Чынгожоева, разрешение дано двум лесхозам Чуйскому и Ысык-Атинскому, которые должны обеспечить ёлками школы и детсады Бишкека. «Проводятся рейды. По административному кодексу штраф налагается по длине вырубленной елки», - сказал начальник Управления экологического мониторинга и лесоохотустройста Камиль Ашимов Отметим, что система лесоучетных работ Кыргызстана берет свое начало с 1995 года, но с 2008 года развивается по 2-х уровневой системе, т.е. включается (по аналогии с другими европейскими странами) новое мероприятие учета – национальная инвентаризация лесов (НИЛ). Кроме того, самостоятельно функционирует повыдельное устройство лесов, то есть лесоустройство. (Р.Алмакунова) [more]
22 December 2010 Kabar, December 17, 2010. "Kyrgyzstan has completed a national inventory of forests", - said at a press conference in agency "Kabar" Mr Abdymital Chyngozhoev, State Secretary of the State Agency of Environment and Forestry of the Republic. According to him, this work was initiated in 2008 with the support of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). Every 5 years in our country, we took into account forest on Soviet methods. But that method is outdated. This type of inventory is the first in the Central Asian region, and Kyrgyzstan is the first country to implement it and our people worked together on this. "This is a very big job. We wanted to get reliable data about our forests and we need to think about tomorrow's forest conservation "- said the State Secretary. As a result, the inventory showed 1,123,045.2 ha of forest in Kyrgyzstan (5,26%), of which 846,043.4 hectares (4.23%) were found in the territory of the State Forest Fund (SFF) and Protected Areas (PAs), while outside the territory of SFF and PAs - 277,001.8 hectares (1.39%) were found. Great concern over illegal felling of Christmas trees now just before the holidays was discussed, and according to A. Chyngozhoeva, permissions were given to two forest enterprises in Chui and Issyk-Ata, to provide firs for schools and kindergartens in Bishkek. "According to Forest law, the penalty shall be imposed on the length of harvested trees, "- said the head of the environmental monitoring and forest management Camille Ashimov. Note that the forest inventory system in Kyrgyzstan dates back to 1995, but as of 2008 it has evolved to 2-level system, (by analogy with European countries), to provide national level information through National Forest Inventory (NFI), in addition to the operational planning level of forest information (forest management plan inventory), (R. Almakunova). [more]
4 November 2010 The field data collection was completed in 2009 and the remote sensing survey, also completed last year, was carried out within the Swiss-Kyrgyz forestry programme. Recent activities include scrutinising data in the NFMA database and organization of three data processing and analysis training workshops. Currently five national consultants are working on the last phase of the project: finalization of data processing and analysis, report writing (in Russian and later translated into English), printing and organization of final seminar and press conference. The project will be completed by the end of 2010. Details on the Kyrgyzstan NFMA here . [more]
Video: National Forest Inventory of Kyrgyzstan
- Richard Slabý
TCDC Consultant, Kyrgyz Project
- Venera Surappaeva
Governmental counterpart – Chief DHFC
- Kuban Matraimov
National Consultant Forest Assessments
- State Agency of Environment Protection and Forest (SAEPF) / Department of Forest Management and Hunting (DFMH),
- Swiss Cooperation Agency