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1. General information
1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach
Key resource person(s)
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus (IBiS)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT
When were the data compiled (in the field)?
The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:
1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies
2. Description of the SLM Approach
2.1 Short description of the Approach
The unsustainable use of pastures and forest areas has led to soil erosion, degradation, desertification and loss of biodiversity in the high mountain areas of the South Caucasus. The development of pasture passports is part of a broader approach to a strategic pasture management plan for Tusheti. This showcase includes results from the spatial planning process applied in a pilot programme for Akhmeta municipality.
2.2 Detailed description of the Approach
Detailed description of the Approach:
Project area and purpose
The project area comprises the Tusheti Protected Areas (PAs) on the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. This group of protected areas consists of a strict nature reserve, a national park and a protected landscape with about 40 villages and settlements. Together they form a total protected area of approx. 114,000 ha. In Tusheti, overgrazing has led, especially in the eastern part with a higher number of villages and roads, to soil erosion and biodiversity loss. Especially the intensive use of summer pastures during the Soviet period resulted in a severe deterioration of the mountain slopes. So far, there are no standards or guidelines for the elaboration of sustainable pasture management plans in Georgia. Pasture passports, as a first step towards sustainable pasture management, document the actual grazing capacity for each pasture unit and serve as a guiding document for shepherds and local stakeholders and as a basis to prepare lease contracts.
As a prerequisite for the development of pasture passports and the calculation of grazing capacity, the type of land cover, the erosion risk and the biomass of the pastureland had to be assessed for each pasture unit. This was done using remote sensing tools in combination with data collected in the field for calibration.
The details on the methodology of the Land Cover & Biomass as well as the Erosion Risk Assessment can be found in the WOCAT technology on "Remote Sensing as a Tool for Land Degradation Neutrality Monitoring" (see link).
Evaluation and Ground Truthing
All interim results have been checked and evaluated by local stakeholders, national experts and experts from local administrations. It was important not only to conduct workshops in seminar rooms but to meet the local stakeholders in the field and to discuss the problems and challenges of pasture management on place in the field. At this workshops all levels of decision makers were included (Ministries, Donor organisations, international and national experts, local administrations and land users). This was important to create a common understanding of the current situation from different perspectives (nature conservation, administration, shepherds ...). The combination of remote sensing with calibration data from the field can be summarised as a very effective method to assess the erosion state in large areas. Neither of the two instruments would be able to provide results in this spatial dimension and quality alone.
As part of the spatial planning of Akhmeta municipality, pastureland that can be leased to shepherds was separated from land used as hay meadows, farmland or pastures belonging to the villagers. The resulting map shows land available to the village and land available for lease. To understand the current use of pastureland, farms, livestock numbers and pasture units were assessed. In workshops with the local stakeholders and potential users of the results (shepherds, Tusheti Protected Landscape Administration, Tusheti NP Administration, APA), the design of the pasture passports was developed. Each pasture unit is described on four pages in the pasture passport.
Each pasture unit is described on four pages in the pasture passport: Header: the number (code), total area; content: map of the land cover types, the area of each land cover type, map of available biomass and carrying capacity, name of farmers/shepherds and their livestock numbers using the pasture unit
Spatial Planning Department and Construction Policy (within the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure MRDI), and the Agency of Protected Areas APA (within the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture MEPA), are key stakeholders to use the pasture passports and to further develop and upscale this approach to other protected areas in Georgia. Beside APA, the Tusheti Protected Landscape Administration (TPLA), located within the Akhmeta municipality administration, is the second important user of pasture passports.
The pasture passports are showing not only the boundaries of each pasture unit, but also those areas that must not be grazed because this lands are part of strict protected areas or areas of high erosion risk. This helps shepherds to guide their flocks to the right places and the park rangers to check, if the regulations are respected correctly.
2.3 Photos of the Approach
2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied
Region/ State/ Province:
Further specification of location:
Entire territory of Tusheti Protected Areas (1100 km²)
Tusheti is located in the north-eastern of Georgia in the Higher Caucasus bordering Dagestan, Russia. The territory consists of the Tusheti Strict Nature Reserve (12,627 ha), Tusheti National Park (69,515 ha), and Tusheti Protected Landscape (31,517 ha), which includes around 40 villages and settlements.
Full territory of Tusheti Protected Areas (1100 km²)
2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach
Indicate year of initiation:
2.7 Type of Approach
- project/ programme based
2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach
Support land use planning and decision-making processes for better management of natural resources, especially pastures.
2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach
social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
There is a strong identification of the local communities with the traditional pasture land use and the communities are willing to establish a long-term sustainable land management.
availability/ access to financial resources and services
Missing financial resources is hindering the implementation of the approach.
Good cooperation between the relevant institutions on the national and municipal level enabled a successful implementation. The Agency of Protected Areas (APA) located at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA) and the Tusheti Protected Landscape Administration (TPLA), located within the Akhmeta municipality administration are responsible for contracting lease agreements with shepherds and should not only be able to understand the technology behind the passports but should also have the capacity to handle the technology to be able to adapt the passports if needed (e.g., by changing boundaries of pasture units). For this issue, training workshops with decision-makers and technicians from the MoEPA, APA with TNP Administration and Administration of Akhmeta Munucuaplity with TPLA have been implemented.
Collaboration/ coordination of actors: All relevant national and local authorities that are dealing with spatial or environmental data participated in the workshop to discuss the approach and institutional suitability to host the sensitivity modelSoil Erosion Risk Model.
collaboration/ coordination of actors
All relevant national and local authorities that are dealing with spatial or environmental data participated in the workshop to discuss the approach and institutional suitability to host the Soil Erosion Risk Model.
knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
There is a high need for technical infrastructure and strong human capacity development.
3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved
3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles
- local land users/ local communities
Shephards, local communities
Participation at the workshop/meeting and
making contributions through comments,
suggestions and sharing their analytical point
- SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers
GIS-LAB (Georgian scientific GIS service provider)
National experts on remote sensing and modelling of erosion risk.
National ecologists from universities
Centre for Biodiversity Research & Conservation (NACRES);
staff and experts from FATPA (Friends Association of Tusheti Protected Areas);
Interviews with local stakeholders, field experts
- local government
Municipality of Akhmeta and Tusheti Protected Landscape Management
Participation at the workshop where they have given input and made contributions to the topic of technical aspects of the approach.
- national government (planners, decision-makers)
National Park management and APA (Agency for Protected Areas)
Long term aplication and upscaling on national level.
- international organization
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Funding and supervision of the implementation process.
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
|Involvement of local land users/ local communities||Specify who was involved and describe activities|
|implementation||interactive||Organized meetings, workshop where stakeholders, local communities discussed different technical methodologies, visited the project communities and evaluated the preliminary result maps of erosion risk in the field.|
3.3 Flow chart (if available)
The process of generating pasture passports consists of several phases. The needs and expected content of the pasture management plans was defined in the early stage of the project by the local stakeholders, national experts and involved administrations. The preparation of the pasture management plans was an iterative process between the remotsensing and field sampling results and feedback and input from local stakeholders.
3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies
Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
- mainly SLM specialists, following consultation with land users
Specify on what basis decisions were made:
- evaluation of well-documented SLM knowledge (evidence-based decision-making)
4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management
4.1 Capacity building/ training
Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?
Specify who was trained:
- field staff/ advisers
Form of training:
- demonstration areas
Form of training:
- workshop with field mission
Evaluation of model results, preliminary result maps of erosion risk in the field, technical implementation of the sensitivity model in Georgia.
The workshops were combined with field missions to evaluate model results directly in the field. The expert teams went into the project communities and evaluated the preliminary result maps of erosion risk in the field together with local stakeholders.
4.2 Advisory service
Do land users have access to an advisory service?
Specify whether advisory service is provided:
- at permanent centres
Located on district level in Telavi
4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)
Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
- yes, moderately
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
Describe institution, roles and responsibilities, members, etc.
The results of the approach implementation in Georgia has been summarized by the Programme ”Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus” and distributed to the experts in Azerbaijan for the further implementation.
Approach and results have been handed over to the local municipality responsible for the lease contracts in the Protected Landscape and to APA, which is responsible for the land use in the national park to integrate them into their pasture management plans.
Specify type of support:
- capacity building/ training
- sharing the concept, approach
Give further details:
The concept and approach has been shared with local municipalities and other related experts.
Pilot study financed by GIZ.
4.4 Monitoring and evaluation
Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?
Within the project a basline was drawn with the current livestock numbers, the current available fodder biomass and the current state of erosion.
If yes, is this documentation intended to be used for monitoring and evaluation?
The remote sensing technology enables a sound methodology to compare the state of erosion and the biomass volume based on satelite data after some years with the baseline values from 2017.
Was research part of the Approach?
Give further details and indicate who did the research:
National and international ecologists did research on vegetation details and biomass as well as on the remote sensing technology.
5. Financing and external material support
5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach
If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):
The funds came from the Integrated Erosion Control project which aas launched as part of the Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus (IBiS) Programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users
Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?
5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
There was a questionnaire and land-users shared their information on land-use practice.
Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?
5.5 Other incentives or instruments
Were other incentives or instruments used to promote implementation of SLM Technologies?
If yes, specify:
The Agency of Protected Areas (APA) thinks about upscaling the pasture passport method on a national level and establish the approach also in other protected areas of Georgia.
6. Impact analysis and concluding statements
6.1 Impacts of the Approach
Did the Approach empower local land users, improve stakeholder participation?
- Yes, little
- Yes, moderately
- Yes, greatly
Through the field visits and workshops, it has involved both experts and authorities, where they have assessed, analysed and given input.
Did the Approach enable evidence-based decision-making?
- Yes, little
- Yes, moderately
- Yes, greatly
By the assessment of biomass, the carrying capacity of each pasture unit was calculated.
Did the Approach improve knowledge and capacities of land users to implement SLM?
- Yes, little
- Yes, moderately
- Yes, greatly
The perception of the key stakeholders and management towards the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services has become more positive.
Did the Approach improve knowledge and capacities of other stakeholders?
- Yes, little
- Yes, moderately
- Yes, greatly
The implementation capacity of line ministries, their subordinate bodies and of training institutions regarding the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services is improved at the national level.
Did the Approach build/ strengthen institutions, collaboration between stakeholders?
- Yes, little
- Yes, moderately
- Yes, greatly
A cooperation between the local Administration of the Protected Landscape (managed by municipality) and the Administration of National Park (managed by national Agency of Protected Areas) was strengthened.
Promoted better coordination of biodiversity and ecosystem services management across sectors based on solid data.
6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM
- increased production
- reduced land degradation
6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities
Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
If yes, describe how:
The remote sensing technology is not available to the land users, but the results (pasture passports) can be used by shepherds and local authorities to adjust the grazing intensity to the maximum carrying capacity of each pasture unit.
6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach
|Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view|
|The pasture passports are describing each pasture unit available for lease not only by size but also by the amount of available fodder biomass. This is representing the productivity and the maps are showing the accessibility of the fodder biomass to the livestock. This is essential for a more accurate prize estimation on the value of each pasture compared to old data just giving the size of the pasture unit.|
|The pasture passports are improving the legal basis for the lease contract. Areas that should not be grazed (strict protected areas, forests, areas of high erosion risk) are clearly shown on the map.|
|During the preparation process the village related areas and the pastures for lease have been defined and mapped. This leads to clear responsibilities for the different pasture lands.|
|Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view|
|Contribution to the work by local municipalities - the overall results have been handed over to the municipality, responsible for the lease contracts in the Protected Landscape and to APA, responsible for the land use in the National Park.|
|The remote sensing technology is an objective method to assess the state of the pasture land and can be reproduced at any future time or in other areas of the Caucasus.|
|The GIS data and databases can support the administrative process of preparing lease contracts and can additionally be used for further research activities.|
6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them
|Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view||How can they be overcome?|
|Informal land use practises are now documented and fixed in lease contracts. That might lead to higher costs (lease) and reduce the profit of the shepherd/livestock owner.||It needs to be communicated that long term lease contracts guarantee the shepherds/livestock owner grazing rights for several years. Investments into pasture quality and infrastructure become more meaningful.|
|Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view||How can they be overcome?|
|The preparation process includes high investment of resources in the first setup of the remote sensing data, field evaluation and database development. It needs special experts and know how.||Remote sensing becomes cheaper when applied on large areas. A distribution of field samples across the whole Caucasus range would enable to upscale from the pilot area to a much wider range with less costs per hectare pasture land.|
7. References and links
7.1 Methods/ sources of information
- field visits, field surveys
- interviews with SLM specialists/ experts
34 experts have participated at the workshop on remote-sensing tools for erosion control and pasture management in Tusheti.
7.2 References to available publications
Title, author, year, ISBN:
Kirchmeir H. 12/2018: Implementation of an Erosion Risk Assessment tool on pilot regions in the Southern Caucasus. The Programme „Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus”
7.3 Links to relevant information which is available online
The European GeoNode system
Monitoring Manual for Highland Pastures in the Caucasus