Unsystematic and excessive load on rangelands has led to land degradation (desertification)


Photo credit : CGIAR

Uzbekistan. Photo credit: Ms. Sanobar Khudaybergenova/CACILM

Law on rangelands is an urgent necessity

Submitted by Sanobar Khudaybergenova

Rural households in Uzbekistan customarily invest into livestock as a secure way of savings. Surroundings of settlements and accessible watering points are normally used as grazing areas. However, unsystematic and excessive load on rangelands has led to strong processes of land degradation and put pressure on rangeland resources.

Rangelands in Uzbekistan are one of the most important life-supporting natural ecosystems. They occupy about half the country, nearly 25 million hectares, the bulk of which is located in the north – large parts of Karakalpakstan, Navoi and Bukhara regions, as well as south – Kashkadarya region. 80% of rangelands are located in deserts, with average annual precipitation of 100 mm, mainly used for karakul sheep, camel and goat breeding. Karakul sheep, the most well-suited for desert rangelands, make up about 4.5 to 5 million heads, mainly bred by ‘shirkats’ (collective farms) and households.

Like the entire region of Central Asia, Uzbekistan’s livestock production faces a number of challenges, despite support from the government and attention paid to improving production of livestock. Constraining factors are mainly limited resources of pasture and arable land for fodder production, whose state is further exacerbated by erratic rainfall and increasing summer temperatures in recent years. Increased demand for meat products due to population growth and income of urban residents indicate the need to consider a more environmentally conservationist approach for feed and livestock systems.

To address challenges like climate change and land degradation, ICARDA-led Knowledge Management in CACILM II project organized a round table on 18 March 2016, wherein rangelands experts, officials, members of parliament, farmers and local populations attended to discuss the state and prospects of rangelands development in Uzbekistan.

Read the full article: CGIAR Drylands Systems

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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