Theme 6: Pastoralism--Oral Sessions

Description

In Kyrgyzstan, a high mountain country in Central Asia, grasslands occupy almost half of the territory. These extensive resources represent the basis for seasonally mobile animal husbandry, which is relevant for both individual households and the national economy. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Kyrgyzstan’s transition into a market economy, these formerly state-owned grasslands were parceled out and privatized. Considerable socio-economic distortions and ecological problems occurred during this process. In order to meet such unintended effects, a legal framework for user-based pasture management was established in the course of an institutional learning process. This package of measures corresponded to a decentralization of responsibilities in natural resource management through the stronger involvement of rural communities and, thus, aligns with a central paradigm of the global development discourse at the time. Positive examples can be observed in terms of increasing equal access to grazing land, the empowerment of rural communities, and reduced ecological damage. At the same time, there are local cases of pasture-related ecological problems and overstrained management institutions. In addition to the challenges posed by cross-border pastoral mobility and scrub encroachment on summer pastures, social issues came into focus in current pasture-related interventions in Kyrgyzstan. This paper traces the developments of the regulations and practices of pasture management after 1991, placing an emphasis on the analysis of current trends, achievements, and challenges.

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User-Based Pasture Management in Kyrgyzstan: Achievements, Challenges, and Trends

In Kyrgyzstan, a high mountain country in Central Asia, grasslands occupy almost half of the territory. These extensive resources represent the basis for seasonally mobile animal husbandry, which is relevant for both individual households and the national economy. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Kyrgyzstan’s transition into a market economy, these formerly state-owned grasslands were parceled out and privatized. Considerable socio-economic distortions and ecological problems occurred during this process. In order to meet such unintended effects, a legal framework for user-based pasture management was established in the course of an institutional learning process. This package of measures corresponded to a decentralization of responsibilities in natural resource management through the stronger involvement of rural communities and, thus, aligns with a central paradigm of the global development discourse at the time. Positive examples can be observed in terms of increasing equal access to grazing land, the empowerment of rural communities, and reduced ecological damage. At the same time, there are local cases of pasture-related ecological problems and overstrained management institutions. In addition to the challenges posed by cross-border pastoral mobility and scrub encroachment on summer pastures, social issues came into focus in current pasture-related interventions in Kyrgyzstan. This paper traces the developments of the regulations and practices of pasture management after 1991, placing an emphasis on the analysis of current trends, achievements, and challenges.