What we do
Премия рунета 2017

Main achievements of the project

Designing of an Econet cluster for Turkestan region completed and approved on all levels. Initially it was planned that core areas of Econet cluster will be established on 100 thousands ha.

Karatausskii zapovednik (36 th.ha) was just established before the project; during the project 4 PAs of different status established (gazetted) — with total area about 60 th.ha; documents for establishment of additional high level PAs were prepared (including very complicated nature-scientific background documents for a national park and high level sanctuaries), officially approved and included in the governmental plans for total area of 218 th ha, with intend to increase the latest 55 the.ha of riparian forest cluster to 200 th.ha (initiative of the Oblast administration) — in this case PAs of the project region will include from 314 to 470 th ha.

In this case total Econet cluster is more then 500 th — up to 1 mln ha.

Not all planned PAs are already established, as governmental procedures are rather long — but next phases of work are included in Governmental Plans of PAs development for 2013–2015 with budget allocation. One of final project publications — Atlas «Key nature territories of the ecological network of Kazakhstan part of Aral-Syrdaria basin» - includes maps and various information on all PAs of middle and lower reaches of Syrdaria.

Management of existing PAs improved (Karatausskii zapovednik, Syrdaria sanctuary) proved by METT assessment (in the beginning, in the middle and by the end of the project).

System for proper sustainable management for the Econet cluster established. Previously only separate MPs existed for particular protected areas, Econet cluster MPs is an innovative elaboration, which includes both MPs of protected areas and plans of sustainable ecologically-friendly economical development in ecological corridors and buffer zones. Management Plan of Econet of Turkestan.

For the practical implementation of MPs special regional council (Permanent Committees) established with high level participation of regional Government, environmental, land- and resource-use management authorities, scientists, NGOs, etc. The most important aspects of the methodological approaches in preparation of MPs and establishment of a special system for its implementation summarized in publication: Major approaches towards methodological recommendations on Management Plan preparation for Ecological network clusters.

Some very important recommendations of the project submitted to the Syrdaria basin council and integrated in the plans of its activities. E.g. minor basin councils (Syrdaria tributaries basin) would be established are already in process of establishment, which allows to ensure sustainable management of water resources in the river basin scale. Problems of water resources basin management in Turkestanskii region — and biodiversity conservation.

Flagship species restoration (follow up of bukhara deer reintroduction activities and karatau argali population development) is successfully on-going. Direct participation and co-funding of the Oblast administration and FHC (additional group of deer shipped and released; system of pens seriously increased) accelerated the process. The unique case of allocation of special budjet and staff of a regional sanctuary allows to hand over the process of taking care of deer, protection and monitoring of the released group. Now there are 30 deer in pens, >24 free ranging — and adaptation is well going. Monitoring system established and handed over to the staff of the reserve and specialists of Turkestanskii University.

Experience of 12 year activities on bukhara deer reintroduction in Central Asia (including those funded by this project during the last 5 years) are summarised in a special methodological publication: Methodological manual for activities on Bukhara deer reintroduction in its historical area.

Habitats of Karatau argali improved, cooperation of various teams established making anti-poaching measures more efficient; area of the species included in the plans of strict PAs development., as well as potential habitats of bukhara deer. Technical support to the mobile anti-poaching team, forestry and rangers of the reserve provided. As a result of common activities of Karatausskii zapovednik, oblast inspection, forestry system — Karatau argali population seriously increased — from 78 before the project to140-160 animals.

Forest restoration was not so successful — floods of Syradaria destroied some of the nurseries, while droughts lead to drying up some of 2–3 years planted spots of natural forests on the mountain slopes. Nevertheless the methodology is developed and tested Establishment of a forest nursery and technology of growing of planting stock, nurseries established and operational, further activities on natural forest restoration are included in the officially approved palns (replacing previous plans of not valuable or even invasive species planting). Area of planted forest- 5 ha in the river valley; 3 spots of mountain forests restoration — 2, 3 and 5 ha. Nurseries for sampling of wild fruit trees well developed.

An important component of the project — involvement of local communities through a system of various trainings and small grant programme (SGP): 12 small grants successfully implemented. Best management practices introduced — sustainable forms of live-stock breeding, community-based forest management, fish-farming, verious forms of alternative income generation. Best models’ results used for local communities trainings. This resulted in an important decrease of pressure on the mountain grassland ecosystems (decrease of summer grazing). Further replication of the experience is on-going with own funding of farmers communities and with the support of other donors. Wider replication of this experince could be of key importance.

Experience summarized in methodological recommendations Small Grant Programme (WWF/SGP) Capacity building, civil society support and in training modules posted in internet and used in courses of Turkestanskii University and by NGOs.

Special attention was paid awareness raising and capacity building. Targeted work with mass media allowed to attract special attention to ecological problems of Turkestanskii region and to invent the concept of econet development. Dozens of papers were published in regional and national mass-media; radio and TV broadcasts regularly presented special activities of the project. «Biodiversity week» included a set of various activities, and wide range of stakeholders participated in it. Hundreds of farmers passed through various education programmes, training courses, and practical actions — and now are capable to replicate the experience of best management practices implementation (and they are really doing it!). Three new ecological NGOs established, there member seriously trained — and we could hand over various activities with local communities to them. Three kids’ clubs WWF friends are very active — and their members disseminate knowledge and involve children of various schools in nature conservation activities. Experience summarized in publication: WWF friends — Kids Clubs — Capacity building, civil society support.

Formally the project is over, we received a very positive conclusion of the international evaluation mission, but for our common achievements to become sustainable a lot of following work is needed. In case of Kazakhstan majority of activities are handed over to relayable partners. But it is critically important to follow-up lobbying and monitoring the process, espacially in view of possible new rotations.