Kyrgyzstan’s fruit-and-nut forests are biodiversity hotspots and of great importance for the people living there. The forests are specifically home to wild relatives of a number of fruit and nut species and are said to be the origin of all commercial apple species (which is important from a genetic perspective). Although not formerly designated, all forest areas are protected in Kyrgyzstan. However, the forests still face threats from livestock grazing, tree cutting, firewood collection, construction activities and lack of management.
To help protect these forests, FFI is strengthening government capacity to manage the forests, helping local people to diversify their livelihoods and encouraging their greater participation in forest management. The project has been supported by a number of donors including the Global Trees Campaign, which has contributed towards direct protection measures of species such as Malus niedzwetzkyana and Pyrus korshinskyi, through establishment of nurseries, planting young saplings out in the wild and fencing for natural regeneration, as well as training for forestry staff and local communities, awareness activities and publications.