Traditional Knowledge

Collection of Kyrgyz traditional pastoral knowledge

In order to restore rational  methods of using pastures
Key facts
Years of implementation:  2007-2008
Place of implementation: aiyl district Kok-Oyrok, Chui region
Donor:; Christensen Foundation, USA
Partner: jamaat "Kok-Oyrok"

Pastures in Kyrgyzstan make up about 90 percent of all agricultural land. From time immemorial, pastures have played a huge role in the economic, cultural and spiritual life of the Kyrgyz. The presence of this natural resource had a huge impact on the entire lifestyle of the nomadic people. Kyrgyz livestock breeders have learned to live in harmony with nature and raise livestock - the basis of their material well-being, without causing damage to pastures. This knowledge and skills were passed down from generation to generation, serving as a guarantee for the survival of the Kyrgyz and the preservation of their natural habitat.
The Kyrgyz Republic gained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was preceded by more than a century of colonization - at the beginning of tsarist Russia, and then as part of the Soviet Union. This period, in general, had a significant negative impact on the traditional way of life of the Kyrgyz and the state of pastures. The intensification of the livestock industry during the Soviet period almost brought pastures into a state of ecological disaster. The age-old knowledge of the people about pasture animal husbandry, ways of sustainable coexistence between man and nature was not taken into account, ignored and, for the most part, was lost and forgotten.
Today, in connection with a significant increase in the livestock population of the population in all regions of the country, the issue of rational and effective use and management of pasture resources is becoming increasingly important. Currently, pasture resources are used extremely ineffectively and irrationally. The time has come to revise the whole concept of pasture farming and the corresponding legislative framework, to develop a system for the management, use and control of pasture resources. In tackling this daunting task, sound public policy and understanding and support for this policy by pasture users are key factors for success in addressing this issue.
Therefore, it is extremely important to collect traditional Kyrgyz knowledge on livestock grazing and pasture use in livestock communities, study and select the most valuable and applicable practices together with members of these communities, and provide them   in a generalized form to policymakers and lawmakers.

the main objective
This RDF project, the first in traditional knowledge, aimed at   improving the lives of rural, mountain, especially the poor by creating conditions for sustainable, equitable and efficient use of natural resources through the mechanism of "Natural Resource Management by Community Powers", founded on rational, equitable and economically viable traditional methods.

Project objectives
Collect, analyze, discuss with communities and preserve traditional knowledge about livestock grazing and sustainable ecosystem management. This study was   an attempt to examine this interaction between man and nature, as well as the changes that have occurred over the past century and the impact that these changes have had on pasture communities.

Location of the project
The study was concentrated in   three high-mountain communities - in the villages of Kayindy, Karal-Dobo   and Tegirmenti of the Kok-Oyrok ayil okmotu of the Kemin district of the Chui oblast.   The main criteria for choosing these villages were:
- mountain villages with pronounced livestock communities;
- a long history of living in a given landscape environment;
- age and gender ratio of the population;
- the richness of the landscape environment;
- the safety of certain traditional grazing skills.

The main directions in the study of traditional knowledge
-   Features of grazing, informal traditional institutions that play a role in decision-making;
- Pastures: status, changes, problems, indicators of pasture assessment;
- Traditional and modern animal husbandry;
- Pastoral culture: traditions, life, folklore;
- Use of pasture natural resources: traditional ways of using natural resources and resolving conflicts around pastures.
All directions were considered and analyzed through the prism of the relationship "nature - man": how and why they changed over time, who and what influenced these changes, who and what may suffer from these changes, what can be done to restore sustainable development and traditional experience.

Feature of the project
This research was innovative for Kyrgyzstan - using methods of joint research and involving local communities in the research, not only as beneficiaries, but also partners, in order to describe as accurately and fully the traditional methods of distribution, use, management of pasture resources, and dispute resolution. and the conservation of the ecosystem.