Pilot Project in Azerbaijan
Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change
The factors leading to overgrazing are also associated with lack of new rangeland management technologies, few to no incentives for pastoralists to improve degraded pastures or even to manage their pastures sustainably, and a lack of understanding by pastoralists of multiple-resource values of pastures. Pasture management practices have deteriorated over the years and are unable to meet the new challenges that require improved management. There is a need for demonstration of improved pasture management under pending climate threats, for applying state-of-the art range ecology and rangeland management techniques that reduce emissions of carbon, incentives for farmers for controlling animal numbers for better soil conditions and biodiversity.
General description of background information
The Caucasus region and especially its mountain ranges with their predominating grasslands are very rich in species. Many of them are endemic to the region. Overgrazing is one of the primary contributing factors to pasture ecosystem degradation in all three countries. Over-grazing results in: (i) loss of organic carbon soil through wind and water erosion; and (ii) soil impoverishment (change in physical and chemical aspects, e.g.: greater compaction, less macro-porosity, decreased nutrient levels and organic matter. These factors interact. Increased soil loss from water erosion results in less water infiltration into the soil for plants; less water for plants lowers productivity; loss of organic matter into the system potentially reduces soil aggregate stability; which increases the likelihood of greater water runoff associated with decreased pore space, poor aggregate stability and so on.
Climate change is the overarching factor exacerbating the human-caused degradation of pastures in the Greater Caucasus. Climate change will impact and is thought to already be impacting the composition, extent and distribution of pastures in the Greater Caucasus. Temperature data from Azerbaijan’s National Hydrometeorology Department of MENR for 10-year period 1991-2000 showed that the mean temperature has risen by 0.410C or three times higher than that of the 30-year period 1961-1990. This finding was consistent with the results derived from climate modeling. The highest rise will be observed in the middle and higher mountainous zones of the Great Caucasus. The models also show that rainfall in 2021-2050 will increase by 10-20% compared to the period 1961-1990. The prediction is that despite the fact that climate change will be quite favorable for summer pastures, their area will not expand, and might even diminish. This will be mainly caused by soil erosion and an increasing use of lands for crops as well as increased evaporative demands. Warmer temperatures mean higher rates of evaporation and evapotranspiration.
The pilot project is funded by the European Union (€1 000 000) and co-funded by UNDP (€141 700), that is also implementing it on the field.
- Pilot Project’s UNDP Website
- Erosion-Protection measures and further planning report
- Concept for Pasture Inventory and for carbon inventory and monitoring in Ismayilli (July 2014)
- Data Sheet I (English): Questionnaire for assessing pasture management of Summer pastures
Project Manager: Mr Eltekin Omarov (eltekin.omarov[at]undp.org)