This project is focused on the Childukhtaron and Dashitijum Nature Reserves in Tajikistan. Only 3% of the country is forested so both reserves are identified in Tajikistan’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan as two of the country’s three most valuable walnut-maple forest sites, with a rich variety of wild fruit and nut trees, including critically endangered pears, Pyrus tadshikistanica and Pyrus korshinskyi, as well as the vulnerable almond Amygdalus bucharica and apple Malus sieversii. These globally significant forests and unique agro-biodiversity are increasingly important as genetic reservoirs, as climate-related impacts threaten domesticated varieties grown worldwide.
Threats to this ecosystem are similar to those threatening the rest of Central Asia’s fruit-and-nut forests, namely increased human pressures through unsustainable grazing, cutting and firewood collection, leading to both the fragmentation and degradation of the forest. FFI is working to conserve these forests with support from, among others, the Darwin Fund and the Global Trees Campaign, which has focused on specific threatened tree species within the forests. Conservation activities include baseline surveys and ecological monitoring, conservation action planning, establishment of tree nurseries, engaging schools in learning about and protecting the forests and raising awareness. FFI is also focused on building wider sustainability, working with local communities and the government to improve forest management, as well as enhancing the livelihoods of those that depend on this important natural resource.