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In this paper, we look at the ways in which recent economic and legal changes affect pastoral management in the Gorno-Badakhshan region of Tajikistan. In Central Asia, livestock mobility is crucial for sustainable pasture management, but in Gorno-Badakhsan, average livestock ownership is extremely low. Households must therefore rely on collective herding practices if they are to exploit remote pastures and avoid overgrazing. Post-Soviet land legislation permits privatization with the aim of improving security of tenure for farmers; however, the same laws also apply to pastures. We consider whether the recent legislation is likely to promote or prevent livestock mobility, and assess the potential impact on collective herding. The effects of the legislation on the ground were investigated using 2007 field data from 2 sites, looking particularly at the impact of pasture privatization on collective users. We describe the extent to which pasture at these sites is under private, community, or state control, discuss the implications for sustainable management of this resource, and make recommendations for Tajik legislators.
We investigated local people's perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes toward conservation planning and management in Chitral Gol National Park in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. A literature review was undertaken to unravel the historic drivers behind the formation of this protected area. Key informant interviews and questionnaire surveys were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of current governance approaches adopted by the park management authorities. Community-based questionnaire surveys and key-informant interviews focused on local communities' knowledge and awareness of the objectives of the park, people's role in decision-making, social characteristics, and resource use structures. The information from these surveys was evaluated within the context of good governance and sustainability of park management. Results show a lack of awareness and a low level of participation in protected area management, but a high degree of willingness in the communities to participate in conservation activities. An analysis of the survey data suggests that the park authorities enforce strict protection measures within the park, but this approach lacks a strong vision of sustainability. The surveys reveal that the local people have a very strong sense of belonging to the place and are willing to contribute to the protection of the PA. A large majority of the respondents rely on electronic media as their main source of information, which could potentially form the best medium for conservation campaigning in the region. With these findings in mind, we propose changes to the current governance model for effective and sustainable management of the park in the future.
Forest resources in northwest Pakistan are under severe threat, negatively affecting local people aiming to meet their subsistence needs through different types of forest use. In addition to uses such as fodder and fuelwood, medicinal plants play an important role in the livelihoods of local people. To reduce pressure and dependency on remaining old-growth forests, some deforested and degraded sites have been reforested. The objectives of the present study were to (1) compare the abundance of medicinal plants on reforested and formerly forested degraded land and (2) assess the influence of reforested stand characteristics on the abundance of medicinal plants. Five plots were randomly selected per land use type. On these plots we analyzed the abundance and other variables of 10 herbal medicinal plants common and important for the rural human population. Frequencies, densities, and cover of the 10 medicinal plants were significantly higher on reforested sites than on degraded sites. Frequencies of highly valuable species such as Valeriana jatamansi, Bergenia ciliata, and Paeonia emodi increased 16-, 8- and 6-fold on reforested sites, respectively. Moreover, density, cover and diversity of medicinal plants (in total) were 7, 5, and 2 times higher, respectively, and 3 species absent on degraded sites were encountered on reforested sites. On reforested plots, tree basal area was the most influential variable positively correlated with the abundance of the aforementioned species. Thus, our data suggest that reforestation of degraded sites can greatly increase the abundance of medicinal plants and may be an instrument for improving the livelihoods of local people and protecting remaining natural forest resources.
The Changbai Mountain range is a well-known and important mountain chain in northeast China, bordering the Korean Peninsula in the south. It is also one of the areas most sensitive to global change. Massive peatlands that play a key role in the global carbon (C) cycle are found in this region. Estimating and assessing C dynamics in Changbai Mountain peatlands is of great importance to local sustainable development. Dry bulk density and C content analyses based on 8 selected peat cores dated by 210Pb were used to estimate recent rates of carbon accumulation (RERCA, g C m−2 yr−1) in Changbai Mountain peatlands. RERCA ranged from 124.2 to 292.8 g C m−2 yr−1 (average 199.6 ± 60.9 g C m−2 yr−1). Obvious increasing trends in RERCA were observed in all peat cores. The C pool for 200 years was 38.5–52.1 kg C m−2, which can supplement the database of C pools for Changbai Mountain ecosystems. The 210Pb radiometric technique was tested and found to be a useful study method for recent terrestrial carbon sequestration. This study could contribute to a better understanding of rarely studied mountain peatlands in China and may be useful to global mountain and climate change research.
Editor's note: The text of this article originally appeared as the final chapter of a brochure entitled Mountains and Climate Change—From Understanding to Action, prepared at the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland, for presentation by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at a side event at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on 12 December 2009. Chapters of the brochure deal with various aspects of climate change and its impact in mountain regions. In light of the significance of the Copenhagen COP 15 conference, the editors of this publication believe MRD's readers will be interested in reading this summary written from the perspective of Swiss researchers and development experts. The full brochure may be viewed and downloaded at www.cde.unibe.ch/Research/MA_Re.asp