Project in the Tigrovaja Balka (Tajikistan)
Integrated River Basin Management in the Tigrovaja Balka
Tigrovaja balka reserve is situated in the Amudaria river basin (upper reaches) — one of the two major catchment basin of Central Asia. Thanks to artificial water regulation, building of huge (Nurek hydropower station) and small dams, natural floods had been stopped and this caused degradation of riparian ecosystems. Lakes started to get dry, as well as all surrounding forests.
Overall Goal of the project: Provide a model for sustainable management of freshwater ecosystems in the AmudaryaRiver Basin, through facilitating development of integrated river basin management (IRBM), conserving and restoring the tugai ecosystem in the Tigrovaja Balka, and initiating sustainable livelihood projects as well as awareness raising, education and training
There were four main modules of the project:
- Development of an Econet cluster in the project area, improvement of ecological management (increasing of the area of protected territories of different status, establishment of a system of sustainble management both for strictly protected territories, and for the surrounding areas — ecological corridors and buffer zones)
- Conservation and restoration of the dynamics and biodiversity of the tugai freshwater system of Tigrovaja Balka, surrounding deserts, flagship species
- Developing strategies for sustainable
land-usein the adjacent agricultural area along the Vakhsh River, on which the nature reserve and the wellbeing of the rural community depends — via direct involvement of local communities.
- Strengthening the civil society and awareness raising
Some intermediate results of the project are presented in our publications:
- Econet — Web for Life: brochure about project results in the first half of 2008
- Econet — Web for Life: brochure about project results in the second half of 2008
- Econet — Web for Life: brochure about project results in the first half of 2009
In order to facilitate
The project started and was implemented in a difficult environment with a rural population under severe pressure from poverty, lack of energy (2 -3 hours electricity per day) and a low level of expertise in land use. Complete restructuring of the Ministry (Committee of Environment) in 2007, and ongoing frequent changes of leading personnel in the government (5 Ministers and Heads of Department over 5 years) and in the nature reserve, caused significant hardships and delays.
The low level of expertise among all stakeholders (farmers, rangers, decision makers) required awareness raising, education and more training. Those components of the project which were less dependente from policy level (especially — regional governments) and could be directly implemented my NGOs were most successful:
- survey and development of recommendations for improvement;
- hydrological regime of the ecosystems;
- ecosystems/flagship species restoration;
- ecological education and awareness raising
- involvement of local communities,
Unfortunatly those components of the project for which endorcements on different levels and varias direct political support was needed (new land allocation — proper management) were going slowly with serious delays, although planned results finally achieved.