Go back

Combating Pasture Degradation in Central Asia and the Caucasus — A Review of Approaches


In Central Asia and the Caucasus region (CAC), pastures are the dominating use of land. There is also a great variation of livestock keeping systems, stationary and mobile livestock keeping as well as horizontal and vertical migration systems. Despite these differences, the region shares a common history of socialist influence. Degradation of pasture resources, measures to combat degradation and appropriate levels of land use are recurring themes in discussions about land use in the CAC region and are relevant for achieving SDG 15.3 globally. Crucial for sustainable rangeland management are governance regimes regulating access and use of pastures. Especially after 1990, alongside diverging economic and political developments, various rangeland governance approaches were implemented in the CAC countries. In this contribution, I review the governance approaches to combat pasture degradation applied in the CAC region and relate them to theoretical paradigms of rangeland governance, namely, private, state, common and open management regimes. The analysis shows that there is evidence for all theoretical paradigms, while their suitability depends on the ecological and social contexts in which they are applied. Thus, there is no “silver bullet” to prevent pasture overuse and degradation. A central concern for sustainable rangeland management is to enable mobility, which seems theoretically compatible with all governance paradigms. In many countries, the development of rangeland governance approaches shows trial and error processes involving paradigm shifts or refinements of existing approaches to improve fit with ecological conditions and local practices of the pastoral population.

Table of Contents: Transitioning to Sustainable Life on Land