Pilot measures take place at selected locations. They play an important part in our work, because they allow us to test and showcase how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be managed in a better way.
WORKING DIRECTLY WITH LOCAL ACTORS
In Armenia, we are helping municipalities in several regions with a new pasture management approach. This aims to prevent soil degradation in the long term. Additionally, ten communities were selected to implement new erosion prevention measures in Aragatsotn and Shirak Marzes. Among these measures are the afforestation of eroded land and bioengineering measures.
In the Georgian municipality of Akhmeta, we are helping to implement integrated biodiversity management. These include erosion control measures, spatial planning processes and a better forest management inventory. In Dedoplistskaro, rural households have implemented windbreaks and improved soil treatment with our assistance. This has led to better productivity and better income. We have carried out a full inventory of the Dedoplistskaro forest fund territory to demonstrate the importance of sustainable agriculture in light of climate change.
SHOWCASE: REVERSING EROSION AND GIVING NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN AZERBAIJAN
Above the Azerbaijani village of Ehen, locals have long been using a slope as pasture land for their livestock. Over time, this has eroded the land to the point where it has become unusable for grazing. With the help of IBiS, the erosion process has not only been stopped but is starting to reverse. The area was isolated with a permanent fence and trees were planted on newly built terraces.
After implementing the new measures, the local community reported that the yearly flooding of their village did not occur. The socio-economic benefits of this integrated approach are partly visible: grass is used as fodder by livestock keepers, people collect medicinal plants and fruits, and beekeepers can erect beehives on the slope. Fruit trees will provide additional income in the future and risks from natural disasters such as flooding and landslides will be mitigated.
EROSION CAUSES LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
The measures taken in Ehen are one of the ecosystem-based erosion control pilot activities we have been implementing in Azerbaijan. Many of the pastures in mountainous areas of the country are in bad condition. Their degradation leads to a loss of biodiversity and threatens the livelihood of the local inhabitants. The communities are aware of the problem but they lack clear examples on how to solve it.
The pilot activities fostered the knowledge of decision makers and farmers on erosion processes and sustainable biodiversity management. A variety of workshops, trainings and excursions were used to explain the value of ecosystem services, and to translate these into the realities of the participants.