Scientists of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia discus aspects of the eco-economic aspects of sustainable land management

Photo: Natalya CHEMAEVA

Within the framework of the Programme on the Sustainable and climate sensitive land use for economic development in Central Asia, the training seminar on the geobotanical study of pasture-lands was organised with the assistance of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) at the National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna of Turkmenistan.

The representatives of the structural subdivisions of the State Committee for Environmental Protection and Land Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, and profile institutions of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan were invited to participate in the seminar. The experts from Mongolia and Kazakhstan that have similar soil and climatic conditions shared their practices in the protection and use of natural pastures, the introduction of technologies on the remote sensing of seasonal returns of such lands, the qualitative composition of desert fodder resources, the methods of forecasting, as well as the organisation of restoration activities on degraded lands.

Boldbaatar Ulambayar from Mongolia demonstrated the mapping technique - the method of step-by-step photographing of monitoring sites to draft the average statistical picture of the state of pastures using a special computer programme. The visual analysis of top soil was conducted in the field to get the information on the level of groundwater rise, the degree of soil salinity, the development of the root system of plants, the content of nutrients and even the presence of pests.

''Mongolia is a country of steppes, so cattle breeding is developed in our country. Legally, pasture users can join cooperatives for more efficient cattle breeding'', said Boldbaatar Ulambayar. ''The government provides low-percentage loans for the construction of modern meat processing plants that purchase surpluses of livestock at market prices to contain the processes of uncontrolled livestock population and depletion of pastures. Cattle breeders in Mongolia are responsible for the use of steppe territories, are obliged to take care of such lands and monitor them. We have developed a simplified, financially affordable mechanism for photographing fields and systematizing data. We hope that our method will be of interest to our Turkmen colleagues''.

Victoria Krylova, Senior Research Associate of Landscape Studies and Nature Management Problems of the Institute of Geography under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, presented a solid package of studies of the research institutes, the specialists of which work on the transboundary water use and socio-economic problems of agriculture. During the seminar she told about the results of the three-year project "Sustainable management of pasture resources of Kazakhstan using GIS-technologies", within the framework of which several electronic maps were drafted: the map of natural forage lands, the map of reserve land, the map of flooding of pastures, the map of pedigreeree zoning of live-stock animals, the map of pasture grazing load. These data are already included in the GIS portal, which is planned to be placed on the public website of the agrarian agency of Kazakhstan.

The representatives of the Turkmen science, in turn, shared the results of their work in the field of land protection. The head of the land cadastre department of the Turkmenertaslama State Design Institute of the State Committee for Environmental Protection and Land Resources Shaberdy Khalliev told about the soil research of irrigated lands. Large-scale research was funded by the government, which is interested in obtaining the data on the quality of land in the context of rational land use. The samples of appraising soils allowed to determine the degree of soil fertility on еру 100-point scale. This, in turn, served as the basis for calculating the economic estimate of the projected yield, taking into account the costs of water supply, etc. Scientists plan to conduct this work every five years.

In addition to presentations, discussions, consultations, the field visits were organized. The training participants emphasized the importance of the exchange of experience in the context of the intensification of regional scientific and technical cooperation.