Knowledge-Sharing Platform

Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management

About Project

Effective knowledge management adds value to agricultural research for development. It consolidates crucial information, helping to disseminate the solutions that rural communities and other partners need to address constraints and put in place sustainable land management strategies. It also helps to promote strategies and tools with the potential to help farmers optimize opportunities and raise their productivity, incomes, and livelihoods.

Acting as an information repository and knowledge hub, this website helps to increase the use of innovations developed by the well-established CACILM Project in Central Asia. Its synthesis, compilation, and dissemination of current research provide a secure knowledge base that policymakers and other stakeholders can access and utilize to develop sustainable strategies capable of addressing the region’s severe land degradation.

The Knowledge Hub presents practical technologies, practices, and approaches that countries will need to implement sustainable approaches to land management, validated by researchers from partner countries alongside colleagues from international research. Crucially, it offers solutions to help mitigate the impacts of climate change which is already causing widespread degradation through low and variable rainfall, prolonged droughts, and more frequent heat and cold stresses.

Strategy

In addition to storing data and technical documentation, the knowledge platform captures and synthesizes useful findings, and initiates direct communication and engagement with key audiences. Ultimately, it aims to generate a behavior change among target groups, simultaneously raising awareness and informing countries, communities, and farmers of the proven practices and technologies they will need to reduce land degradation and secure a productive future.

This communication strategy adopts the following approach:

  • A website aimed at delivering the practical results of the CACILM initiative, incorporating different levels of information, and targeting specific groups.
  • A series of learning activities to involve target users and facilitate their contribution to the synthesis process.
  • Targeted reports, tools and guidelines to summarize available knowledge and science, and develop policy recommendations and processes appropriate in a Central Asian context.
  • Targeted information – advocacy and information campaigns - actions at different stages of the project cycle will engage key audiences in participating countries: briefings, workshops, and advocacy and information campaigns will seek to inform and influence specific groups of people – including policymakers, international development agencies, and farmers.

Developing a strategy for policy analysis and synthesis will initiate mapping exercises to identify policy gaps and existing land policies to improve sustainable land management. More than a data gathering exercise, the mapping process is structured as a learning and experience-sharing activity, an effort to initiate a policy dialogue among national government partners, experts in land-use management, and development partners such as regional or national NGOs and donors.

Challenge

The countries of Central Asia have undergone tremendous economic and social changes since their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Poverty remains widespread throughout the region. 

Land degradation in these countries is a serious threat driven by low rainfall, drought, extreme rainfall variability, and heat and cold stresses, which are all exacerbated by the effects of climate change and inappropriate human activities. The effects are accelerated water and wind erosion; the loss of biological diversity, plant cover and soil organic matter; nutrient depletion; soil compaction; water-logging; high water tables; stoniness; soil salinization; and sodicity.

Similarly, permanent pastures, which occupy 77-95% of the agricultural area, are not properly managed. This has resulted in overgrazing at near-village pastures, reduced productivity, feed deficits to livestock, soil erosion, loss of plant biodiversity, and expanding desert margins. The growing climate variability in the region will increasingly require the adoption of agricultural technologies that provide stable production under unpredictable and adverse climatic conditions.

In response to the immense threat posed by land degradation to Central Asia’s agricultural fabric, the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM) was established to restore, maintain, and enhance the productive functions of land in Central Asia. Ultimately, the aim is to improve the economic and social well-being of those who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Focus

The CACILM knowledge management initiative synthesizes land and water management innovations and technologies according to thematic criteria - providing stakeholders with a comprehensive package of interventions that are capable of fundamentally improving the sustainable management of the region’s land and water resources. These farmer innovations, which draw on the latest science and thinking, are grouped into the following categories:

  • Soil conservation – proven cultivation techniques and the optimal application of fertilizers
  • Crop production – promoting improved varieties, plant protection products, and suggesting optimal times for planting and harvesting
  • Water – advanced irrigation methods, water distribution, the use of groundwater and saline water, and the formation of water management associations
  • Forestry – strengthening farming practices on forested slopes through the cultivation of pistachio, walnut, and other forest crops to drive higher profits
  • Livestock – rehabilitating pastures, cultivating fodder crops, and improving the quality of livestock through breeding, pasture rotation, and veterinary care
  • Climate – promoting improved adaptation to climate change throughout the region’s different agro-ecologies

Innovations in each of these areas are presented as case studies and summaries. Information on promising policies and approaches is also prepared and presented. This information is taken from across the five participating countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Innovations

The innovations promoted by CACILM are proven approaches to sustainable land and water management – tried and tested sustainable land management 'packages suitable for agro-ecologies across Central Asia. They draw upon the latest thinking in agricultural research and are ready to be scaled-up to the region’s farmers. The innovative approaches to land and water management include:

  • Conservation agriculture under raised-bed planting with and without residue retention
  • Using improved varieties and intercropping practices for rotation diversification
  • Applying water-efficient technologies such as leaching and irrigation practices to reduce drainage volumes
  • Strategies to increase rangeland diversity and productivity
  • Inter-cropping cotton or maize with legumes for higher profitability
  • Planting into standing stubble, or applying mulch, to successfully reduce erosion and increase soil moisture content in the topsoil

Improving rangeland productivity and fodder availability through the use of suitable, salt-tolerant fodder.

Policy

A key component of efforts to promote sustainable land and water management and mitigate the growing impacts of climate change requires a proper policy analysis to demonstrate how policies interact with both these outcomes. The initiative will seek to influence policy in five main areas:

  • Water conservation policy
  • Land conservation policy – environmental, soil health, and the minimization of land degradation such as soil erosion and salinization
  • Land grazing policy
  • Pro-poor land policy
  • Property rights to land, and land transactions.

Efforts to influence policies in these areas take place through national and sub-national forums where dialogues are informed by prior in-depth policy analyses, and efforts are made to engage directly with policy-makers through workshops, roundtable meetings, and science-policy dialogue meetings. National institutions overseeing the application of sustainable land and water innovations will also be encouraged to participate in international meetings to facilitate the exchange of ideas and the uptake of viable policy options.

Project Purpose

Acting as an information repository and knowledge hub, this website helps to increase the use of innovations developed by the well-established CACILM Project in Central Asia. Its synthesis, compilation, and dissemination of current research provide a secure knowledge base that policymakers and other stakeholders can access and utilize to develop sustainable strategies capable of addressing the region’s severe land degradation.

The Project is funded by IFAD and led by ICARDA under framework of CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems.

Visualization of technologies

Technologies

Demo Plots

Climate Change Data for SWAT

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