Research into Tajik Pamir rangelands as sustainable food production landscapes

12 months ago Web Desk 0

Residents in the high Pamir region of Tajikistan have always depended on natural resources to sustain their livelihoods, primarily through nomadic herding practices that have developed over centuries. In recent decades, however, traditional sustainable management and governance structures have undergone varying forms and degrees of disruption as a result of regional and international socio-political shifts.


In 2016–2017, a regional comparative study was carried out to assess rangeland conditions and to determine the effects of livestock production systems and wildlife use on pasture quality and productivity near Zorkul Lake and the headwaters of the Panj River (also known as the Amu Darya, and in antiquity as the Oxus River). The study highlighted similarities and some differences in herding practices between two pastoralist sub-communities, differing mainly in seasonal livestock movements and pasture rotation. More pasture degradation and livestock health problems were noted in places where local pasture management institutions were absent.


AKDN notes that mechanisms allowing greater coordination of effort, such as pastoralist associations, also enabled greater community-level mobilization and a wider range of benefits. These findings further emphasize the importance of acknowledging and supporting community efforts to practice sustainable land use, as the resilience of integrated food systems in arid and fragile ecosystems is nearly always based on both sociocultural and environmental elements.


Development research on food systems at MSRI, writ large, is now established and set to continue. This research includes the documentation, protection, and strengthening of agrobiodiversity and its utilization—and of traditional knowledge and practice systems more generally. All these processes will be further supported by cross-sectoral collaborations and broad partnerships with mountain communities, other research institutions, and private-sector partners working together to promote more sustainable food systems in the mountains of Central Asia.


The Graduate School of Development’s Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) conducts research for development with the goal to improve the well-being of mountain communities in Central Asia. It is a university-wide, interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities within Central Asian mountain communities and environments.


MSRI has five objectives: 1) to generate knowledge on mountain societies through original scientific research; 2) to serve as a knowledge hub for scholars, development practitioners, and policy makers; 3) to enhance regional capacity to conduct sound research relevant to mountain societies; 4) to inform policy and practice through engagement with key development partners; and 5) to disseminate knowledge among mountain stakeholders, including the co-development and co-teaching of UCA’s academic programs.


MSRI conducts trans-disciplinary research to help inform and contribute to the Sustainable Mountain Development agenda in Central Asia. MSRI’s integrated approach to research with and for the benefit of mountain societies demands an understanding of both social and ecological factors operating at multiple spatial and temporal scales.


Source: Asia plus