Rural Development Fund held the final seminar for the project on “Local community participation model in the management of mountain ecosystems in the Kyrgyz Republic”. The event was held with the participation of representatives of the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry of the PKR, the Department for the Development of Forest Ecosystems and Specially Protected Natural Territories, and the Department for Forest-Hunting in Batken Oblast, as well as administrations, local governments of Batken and Kemin districts, international donor and non-governmental organizations, representatives of forestry enterprises, local communities and other stakeholders.
The seminar presented an innovative model of forest ecosystem management for the Republic with the participation of local communities, which had been
developed RDF with the support of Christensen Fund together with State Agency for Environmental Protection, local institutions and pilot communities. This model was tested in two pilot communities located in south and north of the country: One in the Batken forestry with the participation of the Alasan meikin group of Samarkandek AA, and the other in the Chon-Kemin State Natural Park with the participation of Karool- Dobo Meikin group of Kok-Oyrokskogo AA.
This community participation model promotes holistic management and forest protection by combining biocultural diversity conservation with sustainable use of resources by local communities. This new co-management model is distinctive and unique from existing approaches in its holistic eco-system management approach, in the continuity of forest ecosystem conservation through sustainable use of forest resources; in the application of local traditional ecological knowledge; and in the engagement of co-management of the entire community, rather than individual, “privileged” forest users.
Two pilot sites demonstrated not only the viability of the model, but also its effectiveness in solving many problems in the forest sector. Within the framework of the Batken pilot site, the local community, Alasan Meikin group, has grown into a sustainable institution that successfully manages the forest area in line with their community management plan for forest ecosystems without external support. The Northern pilot site, Karool-Dobo Meikin group in Chon-Kemin State Natural Park also managed to prevent unauthorized logging on the allocated forest land.
The workshop participants were encouraged by the positive results and achievements of the pilot local communities of the model. We also presented methodological tools for the Co-management Model for Forest Ecosystems, such as Guidelines for Landscape and Forest Inv
entory Assessment (for Local Communities), Guidelines for Conducting Joint Monitoring of the State of Mountain Ecosystems, as well as the Biodiversity Database for Forestry and Protected Areas and other materials developed by RDF.
Mr. Ormonov, the Director of the Department of Forest Ecosystem Development and Specially Protected Natural Territories from State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry stated that RDF had gone ahead of other organisations to develop a new approach for joint forest management, which would certainly be useful in reforming the country’s forest sector. He also noted the timeliness of RDF methodological developments and stressed the importance of this approach in improving the forest sector and the well-being of the local population.