Residents of 17 villages in the south of Kyrgyzstan will plant 100 hectares of trees and shrubs to protect their homes

08 May 2014

image800 walnuts planted in Salamalik village that will reduce threat of landslides. Credit: Taalai Ergeshov / UNDP.

To protect their homes and social facilities, local residents in southern Kyrgyzstan are planting different trees and shrubs in areas with high risk of landslides, mudflows or eroded soil. These, so called "green projects" were launched in early April in several villages of Osh, Jalal -Abad and Batken oblasts of the country.

Residents of 15 different UNDP pilot villages in Osh and Jalal-Abad are planting elm, wild apple, walnuts, almonds and rosehips. Planting has already been completed in two villages of Batken oblast.

"These types of trees are best suited to the selected areas, and can reduce the impact of natural disasters, or the speed of their development. For example, planting vegetation which has a root system that penetrates deep into the ground  can significantly reduce the threat from surface and shallow landslides,"- says Mukash Kaldarov, head of the UNDP's disaster management cluster.

Another feature of the "green projects" is planting trees that yield crops like fruits, walnut and pistachios, which in future may serve as an additional source of income for the local population.

In Osh oblast local population plans to plant about 4,200 seedlings of high-quality walnut and 150 kg of seeds of wild almond, mainly on landslide-prone areas. Residents of villages in Jalal-Abad oblast are to plant about 2,000 elm, wild apple, ailanthus and glyadichiya seedlings and 200 kg of of wild almond. The “green projects” will cover more than 100 hectares of lands in three oblasts.

The work is now in full swing. The "green project" in Salamalik village in Osh oblast mobilized almost the entire village. They planted 800 walnut seedlings on a hill near the village to protect nearby homes from potential landslide. They also erected fences around the new plantings for protection.

"Machinery cannot climb up this hill, so our young people are using donkeys to carry cement, gravel and other materials to construct fences" says one of volunteer leaders Ulanbek Tulebayev, explaining some features of construction of fences.

Inclusion of "green projects" in the policies and practices of public administration and local self-government will help significantly reduce the cost of managing natural disasters and potentially save many lives.

"Green projects" is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, UNDP’s “Effective disaster risk management for sustainable development and human security” project , UN World Food Programme, UNDP-UNEP Poverty and Environment Initiative, GEF Small Grants Programme, local authorities and village residents. The projects are implemented in accordance with the Kyrgyz Republic National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2014-17.