Recent research on “Economics of Land Degradation in Uzbekistan”, jointly conducted by the Center for Development Research (University of Bonn, Germany) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), has projected an estimated return of about 4 USD over the next 30 years for each dollar invested in land rehabilitation, including major benefits to the environment.
Forests in Central Asia are significant assets not only because they are a source of healthy nutrition and fresh vitamins available almost the whole year round, but also due to the unique fruit and nut genetic resources – the useful or potentially useful hereditary traits – contained in them.
Climate change is widely believed to increase desertification globally.
Efforts to combat land degradation in Central Asia received a new impetus with the three-year project to streamline the use, creation and dissemination of knowledge on sustainable land management (SLM) in the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), which has been funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) since 2013.
Low soil fertility remains a key problem in parts of Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia. In such areas, lack of soil nutrients and water often results in low crop production. These problems directly affect the livelihoods of many farmers. Burning crop residues and ploughing also contribute to soil degradation as they reduce the organic matter of soil and destroy soil structure.
The Regional Program for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Central Asia and Caucasus was initiated in 1998, and operates as a consortium of eight National Agricultural Research Centers (NARS), eight Centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR consortium members) and three additional advanced research institutions (non-CGIAR consortium members).