Natural resource management

Restoration and improvement of near-village pastures and sustainable management of secondary pasture resources

Our land is our wealth in our hands
Many in the country have heard and visited the fertile Kemin valley. Stretching along the fast-flowing Kemin River, the valley is rich in its alpine meadow pastures and spruce forests, glacial lakes and mountain rivers. Those who have visited this valley at least once will forever remember the wealth and beauty of its nature. But those who were born and raised here with pain note that there is less and less grass around the villages, spruce trees and rare birds and animals in the surrounding mountains. There are fewer and fewer wild medicinal herbs, berries and mushrooms that provide the local population not only with valuable vitamins, but also a noticeable additional income for the family budget. And, often, these natural resources disappear without a trace due to their careless use. Unfortunately, we ourselves, without realizing it, deprive the land of its wealth and fertility - using its gifts irrationally and predatory, and thus harm only ourselves.

The out-of-season and irrational use of pastures, as well as the massive felling of trees and shrubs in the aiyl district of Kok-Oyrok, Kemin district, led to the fact that the local pastures around the villages were severely degraded, and remote pastures were overgrown with weeds that were completely unsuitable for livestock feed. Moreover, due to improper collection of natural resources by local residents, such as wild medicinal herbs, berries and mushrooms, their growing areas have significantly decreased. The local residents themselves took up the solution to this difficult task of restoring their landscape. In July 2008, they organized and registered a public association - Kok-Oyrok jamaat, consisting of activists and leaders of the local community. Jamaat "Kok-Oyrok" was deliberately initiated by local residents to jointly resolve issues of local importance. Zhamaat takes on the role and responsibility of an active participant in solving the socio-economic problems of the community.

Key facts
Years of implementation:   2010-2011
Place of implementation:   aiyl district Kok-Oyrok, Chui region
Donor:   Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Partner:   Jamaat "Kok-Oyrok"

Objective of the project
The project, initiated by the jamaat, was supported by the Global Environment Facility under the Small Grants Program, and is aimed at improving the condition of near-village pastures in the villages of Karal-Dobo, Kaindy and Tegirmenti by sowing perennial grasses on them and planting trees and conifers around them, as well as inoculating local residents skills for sustainable and rational use of pasture resources.

Community Initiative
Within the framework of the project, Zhamaat assisted local residents in planting poplar and spruce seedlings, as well as provided seeds of perennial pasture grasses for sowing on pastures near the villages. In total, according to the project, the zhamaat planted more than 3,746 poplar seedlings, 200 spruce trees and sowed 25 hectares of nearby seed pastures with perennial pasture grasses.

This project was a logical continuation of the previous RDF projects and builds on their findings and recommendations. Thus, as a result of the implementation of the project “Gathering traditional knowledge for the restoration of rational methods of pasture use” by the Christensen Foundation, USA in three villages of the Kok-Oirok aiyl district, community members came to a clear understanding of the inseparability of the socio-economic activities of the local population and the surrounding landscape. Local residents began to clearly understand the scale of problems in the use of pastures and other natural resources, the main and indirect causes of their occurrence and approximate ways of solving these problems.

Project participants
Women, children and the youth wing of Zhamaat were actively involved in the implementation of the project. Women were involved not only in the planning process for the collection and implementation of secondary resources, but also in the decision-making process on the use of secondary pasture resources by presenting community maps to representatives of the aiyl okmotu, the National Park, the pasture committee and other stakeholders. The youth wing of Zhamaat provided protection of planted seedlings and sown pastures.

RDF participation in the project
In this project, RDF provided active assistance to Jamaat and took part in organizing a number of events and, in general, in the implementation of the project. Initially, the RDF conducted a rapid assessment study in these villages, during which villagers identified the problems of degradation of their landscape, analyzed the causes and intensification of degradation, and decided how natural resources of critical importance to the community could be restored. During focus groups, RDF experts analyzed the dynamics of resource degradation and determined the points of resilience of the Kok Oirok ecosystem.
The RDF's contribution to the implementation of this project was to form a database of the main collectors of secondary pasture resources and identify problems with the use of secondary pasture resources. This helped to further develop a plan for the conservation and rational use of secondary pasture resources.

It should be noted that within the framework of another project, we finance