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Global Ideas

Walnut trees for future generations

The largest naturally grown walnut forest in the world provides a livelihood for many people - but the forest is slowly dying. A new sustainable approach is supposed to save it.

Watch video 07:06

Saving Kyrgyzstan’s walnut paradise

Project aim: Preserving biodiversity in the largest naturally grown walnut forest in the world in southern Kyrgyzstan and alleviating poverty among the population there at the same time

Project partner:Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic (SAEPF), Ministry for Agriculture, Food Security and Land Reclamation of the Kyrgyz Republic

Project budget: 5 million euros financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Biodiversity: The forests of southern Kyrgyzstan are an important biodiversity hotspot. Many cultured fruit and walnut trees derive from their wild counterparts in Kyrgyzstan.

For many people in southern Kyrgyzstan, harvesting walnuts is their livelihood - that and raising livestock. But this is not always a happy mix. Because the animals eat the walnut seedlings, the forests are aging, and slowly but surely dying. Against that backdrop, and given the fact that Kyrgyzstan is among those countries most affected by climate change, a project is underway to develop a better way to involve local populations in utilizing the valuable woodland, while simultaneously adapting to shifting weather patterns. It aims to prevent the grazing of livestock in the forest, minimize illegal logging and simultaneously ensure that new trees are planted.

A film by Kerstin Palzer

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