Assessing the State of Sustainable Land Management Research in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

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Date: 09 December 2013
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Full version of Mountain Research and Development Vol. 33, Issue 4 available online

This article synthesizes findings from a review of the state of research on sustainable land management in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and from an analysis of the interface between research and action. Using the Global Land Project (GLP 2005) analytical framework, we analyzed the distribution of 131 selected publications (including a clearly defined set of local and international academic and gray literature) across the framework’s components and links in a social–ecological system. There is a strong emphasis in the literature on the impact of changes in land use and management on ecosystems; however, there is little research on the implications for ecosystem services. This finding is opposed to that of a similar analysis of publications at the global scale (Bjo¨rnsen Gurung et al 2012). Another major gap was the lack of research on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan regarding the influence of global factors on social and ecological systems, despite social, economic, and political integration into global structures since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the increasing influence of climate change. Our analysis disaggregated academic literature published in the region and international academic literature, revealing stark differences.

These differences are partly attributable to the legacy of the late Soviet era principle of ‘‘rational use of land resources,’’ which fit the planned economy but lacks approaches for decentralized resource governance. Finally, the emphasis of research on systems knowledge, the lack of transdisciplinary research, and the critical feedback of stakeholders at a regional sustainable land management forum suggest that actionable sustainable land management research on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is rare. Recommendations are made for targeted, application-focused, multistakeholder research and knowledge sharing, including local and international researchers as well as practitioners, policy-makers, and land users.

Keywords: Sustainable land management (SLM); rational use of land resources (RURL); state of research; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Central Asia; Global Land Project (GLP); research–action interface; research recommendations.

Mountain Research and Development (MRD) (ISSN 0276-4741, online ISSN 1994-7151) is published by the International Mountain Society (IMS), c/o Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 10, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

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