Kyrgyzstan's vast grasslands are mountain ecosystems that provide many ecological services (such as water cycling and filtration, nutrient cycling, and soil formation) as well as economic services (such as fodder supply). During the post-Soviet transformation, pasture-related challenges arose in new forms and intensities and came to endanger the continued provision of these services. Degradation leads to a worsening shortage of grassland resources, and pasture-related conflicts jeopardize Kyrgyzstan's social integrity. Socioecological problems vary in type and intensity and cannot be explained solely in terms of excessive use by local people. This study looks at the ways in which historical preconditions, current socioeconomic conditions, laws and regulations, and administrative and management practices influence current pasture problems. We analyzed the social and ecological characteristics of diverse pastures in the walnut fruit forest region in southwestern Kyrgyzstan. This study offers an interdisciplinary approach to the establishment of socially and ecologically sustainable pasture management systems, combining social and historical research with ecological vegetation analyses.
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