Ecosystem-based land use and conservation of ecosystems at lower reaches of Amudarya
Central Asia faces increasing pressure at water provision to ecosystems, agricultural land and local communities. Through a changing runoff regime of river systems a decrease in seasonal water availability is predicted. Less water will be available for irrigated agriculture interconnected with a drop down of income and gross domestic product. At the same time the natural riparian forests, so called tugai forests, along the Central Asian river banks diminished by about 90% within the last century. They are confronted in multifold ways with the immense adverse impacts of climate change. In 2011 the government of Uzbekistan established a Biosphere Reserve on the ground of Uzbek legislation at the lower reaches of Amudarya. Currently the Biosphere Reserve doesn’t fulfill its functions in an adequate way. But there is potential to test innovative ecosystem based approaches to overcome those challenges and to implement best practice cases.
The project aims to develop sustainable, climate- and site adapted land use practices and natural resource utilisation at overexploited, degraded and salinized lands along the Amudarya. Thus, local communities shall be supported and prepared for a changing environment and lesser resource availability. This is based on a rehabilitation of natural tugai forest ecosystems, that may then provide ecosystems services to sustain itself and provide sustainable livelihoods.