Saving Kyrgyzstan’s forests

FFI’s partner in Kyrgyzstan Ecological Public Foundation (TAZA) has been making great inroads in helping communities to get more involved in protecting their threatened fruit and nut forests.

TAZA recently ran two workshops and two seminars in seven villages around Kyzul-Unkur and Kara-Alma in south Kyrgyzstan. This part of the country contains unique walnut fruit forests which hold an extremely valuable reserve of rich genetic biodiversity.

The forests also provide an important source for local people’s livelihoods; for example, through the walnut industry. Yet the forests are seriously threatened by overexploitation of wood.

During the two TAZA workshops, more than 65 people actively participated in discussions of biodiversity and its current threats in the walnut forests. TAZA also organised site visits to forests to demonstrate how humans are impacting this ancient ecosystem.

“One solution to the problem may lie in solar energy, which can potentially replace fuel wood,” said Gulnaz Jalilova, who heads up TAZA.

“TAZA is helping to trial solar energy in fruit drying, stoves, and water heaters in several villages. The reaction from local people is already positive, though the scheme is in its early stages.”

FFI is proud that we are contributing to the improvement of local people’s livelihoods and education. By helping them to both see the importance of their forests and find an alternative to wood collection, we are making a difference to Kyrgyzstan’s threatened fruit and nut forests.