Rehabilitation of poor soils through agroforestry [Tajikistan]

Tajikistan - Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM/ИСЦАУЗР)

technologies_1052 - Tajikistan

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Urakov Buran



Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
United Nations Development Program (United Nations Development Program) - Tajikistan
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
CDE Centre for Development and Environment (CDE Centre for Development and Environment) - Switzerland
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
CACILM Multicountry Capacity Building Project (CACILM Multicountry Capacity Building Project) - Kyrgyzstan

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.5 Reference to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Approaches (documented using WOCAT)

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

An agroforestry system with peach, plum, sweet cherry and persimmon trees was established on a plot of land, with poor soil quality.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


In the arid environment of Kabodion, large areas that had been irrigated during the Soviet times were abandoned after independence, and the irrigation facilities were neglected. Soils were highly degraded due to the long periods they had been without proper irrigation. On an area of poor quality soil, and previously abandoned plot of land covering about 6 ha, UNDP supported one family (Dehkan)to establish an agroforestry system by covering the costs of tree seedlings.

Purpose of the Technology: The aim of the technology was to improve agricultural production through a combination of measures such as improving soil fertility, increasing soil humidity through covering the soil with plastic sheets and preventing excess water drainage, and protection through a shelterbelt. Resilience to adverse climatic events is enhanced by increasing product diversification with a number of different tree, vegetable and crop species being planted.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: First, the soil had to be washed to reduce the high salt content. Plum, peach, sweet cherry and persimmon tree seedlings were planted in lines with intercropping of potatoes, watermelon, beans and wheat inbetween. The seedlings were purchased from the Kabodion nursery. Labour was provided in the form of "hashar" or voluntary neighbourhood help. On the windward side of the field, a shelterbelt consisting of White Poplar (Populus alba) trees was established to protect the field from wind erosion, and to reduce evapotranspiration. In order to improve soil structure annual crop rotations were practiced. Every 4 years 40 tones of cow dung are spread out per ha of land. The application of organic manure constitutes an important cost factor for the farmer, as 40 tons of manure costs about 180 to 220 USD. To improve soil humidity and to enable early planting for watermelons, cultivation seeds are planted under a tight plastic film with irrigation water filled underneath the sheet. As soon as the seedlings emerge a hole is made in the plastic to create space for the plants. Irrigation is applied only sparingly to prevent the soil from a new rise in salinity. The plot is situated on a gentle slope which facilitated the establishment of a drainage system by digging a trench at the foot of the field to absorb excess water. The farmer was able to cover the costs of this initial investment himself using the revenues from the first harvest. At the foot of this field, salt tolerant Russian Silverberry (Elaeagnus angustifolia) trees were planted to promote biodrainage to help prepare the adjacent land for conversion to agroforestry at a later stage. The farmer gained the knowledge that was necessary for the establishment of the system through attending the farmer field schools (see approach TAJ018).

Natural / human environment: This technology is suitable for other arid environments, and the economic benefits are high compared to the establishment and maintenance costs. When this was realised by the neighbouring farmers they adopted the technology on an area of land that was actually three times larger.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Khatlon, Kabodion

Further specification of location:

Khudokulov Jamoat

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.06 km2.

The technology was initially applied on 5.8 ha of denuded land, however, it has been spontaneously adopted by a neighbour who has about 18 ha.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Land use mixed within the same land unit:


Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agroforestry



  • Annual cropping
  • Tree and shrub cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • legumes and pulses - beans
  • cereals - wheat (spring)
  • root/tuber crops - potatoes
  • watermelons
Tree and shrub cropping - Specify crops:
  • stone fruits (peach, apricot, cherry, plum, etc)
  • pome fruits (apples, pears, quinces, etc.)
  • persimmons, Diospyros kaki, Prunus avium, Prunus persica, Prunus domestica, Elaeagnus angustifolia
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2

Longest growing period in days: 240Longest growing period from month to month: October - May (winter wheat)Second longest growing period in days: 120Second longest growing period from month to month: June-September


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): degradation of vegetation cover, loss of topsoil through wind erosion, poor access to irrigation water,

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): salinity, waterlogging, low soil fertility, low agricultural production

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Mixed: Mf: Agroforestry

3.3 Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?

Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?
  • Yes (Please fill out the questions below with regard to the land use before implementation of the Technology)
Land use mixed within the same land unit:


Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agroforestry
Unproductive land

Unproductive land


wastelands, deserts, glaciers, swamps, recreation areas, etc

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • full irrigation

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • agroforestry
  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • improved plant varieties/ animal breeds

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover
  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
  • A3: Soil surface treatment
vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V1: Tree and shrub cover
structural measures

structural measures

  • S3: Graded ditches, channels, waterways

Main measures: agronomic measures, vegetative measures

Secondary measures: structural measures

Type of agronomic measures: manure / compost / residues, rotations / fallows, furrows (drainage, irrigation)

Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -along boundary, aligned: -linear

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

  • Et: loss of topsoil
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
  • Cs: salinization/ alkalinization
physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

  • Pw: waterlogging
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover
  • Bs: quality and species composition/ diversity decline
water degradation

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification

Main type of degradation addressed: Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content, Cs: salinisation / alkalinisation, Pw: waterlogging, Ha: aridification

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Et: loss of topsoil, Bc: reduction of vegetation cover, Bs: quality and species composition /diversity decline

Main causes of degradation: soil management (soils were under irrigation for a long time and had salinity problems), droughts, inputs and infrastructure: (roads, markets, distribution of water points, other, …) (breakdown of irrigation facilities), education, access to knowledge and support services (lack of knowledge about agroforestry), governance / institutional (no freedom to farm)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

Main goals: rehabilitation / reclamation of denuded land

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: control of concentrated runoff: drain / divert, improvement of ground cover, increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), increase of infiltration, reduction in wind speed

Secondary technical functions: increase of biomass (quantity), promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder)

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: organic manure
Quantity/ density: 40 tones
Remarks: ha

Rotations / fallows
Material/ species: annual crop rotation

Furrows (drainage, irrigation)
Material/ species: drainage

Aligned: -along boundary
Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs

Aligned: -linear
Vegetative material: F : fruit trees / shrubs
Number of plants per (ha): 845
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 10
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 3

Trees/ shrubs species: Elaeagnus angustifolia (for shelterbelt and fence around plot)

Fruit trees / shrubs species: Diospyros kaki, Prunus avium, Prunus persica, Prunus domestica

Diversion ditch/ drainage
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 1.5
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 1
Length of ditches/pits/dams (m): 200

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Planting of tree seedlings in field and along boundary early spring
2. Digging up irrigation ditch at the foot of the field

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Planting of tree seedlings Persons/day 50.0 20.0 1000.0 100.0
Labour Digging up irrigation ditch Persons/day 40.0 20.0 800.0 100.0
Equipment Machine use ha 1.0 274.0 274.0
Equipment 1.0
Plant material Tree seedlings pieces 844.0 3.14573 2655.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 4729.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 1050.89

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Annual crop rotation
2. Application of organic manure every 4 years
3. Cover soil around crops with plastic cover early planting season
4. Tillage
5. Continuous daily irrigation for tree seedlings daily during hot months

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Daily irrigation for tree seedlings Persons/day 186.0 20.0 3720.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Organic/manure tons 40.0 25.0 1000.0
Construction material Plastic cover m 1.0 1.8 1.8 100.0
Other Tillage ha 1.0 430.0 430.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 5151.8
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 1144.84

Costs were calculated per ha. Labour costs for irrigation of tree seedlings were calculated assuming that one person has to irrigate daily during 6 months of the year and were included under annual recurring costs.

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The cost of the tree seedlings is the most determinate factor. Labour costs are high if labour has to be paid, however, in this case labour is provided free by the farmer.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specify average annual rainfall (if known), in mm:


Agro-climatic zone
  • arid

Thermal climate class: temperate

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is low

Soil drainage / infiltration is poor: water logging occurs

Soil water storage capacity is low

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

< 5 m

Availability of surface water:

poor/ none

Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

Ground water table: Too high, danger of waterlogging

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • mechanized/ motorized
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Population density: 50-100 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 2% - 3%

Level of mechanization: Land cultivation is a mixture of mechanisation and manual labour

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • medium-scale

6 ha

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • individual

family Dehkan farm

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production


fodder production

Comments/ specify:

lucerne (alfalfa) production

risk of production failure

Comments/ specify:


product diversity


production area

Comments/ specify:

before the land was denuded

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency


health situation

Comments/ specify:

vitamin-rich fruits are more readily available

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

Comments/ specify:

through participation in farmer field schools

conflict mitigation

Comments/ specify:

jealousy by other land users who would like to cultivate this land now they can see how productive it is

Livelihood and human well-being

Comments/ specify:

Farmer does not need to migrate to Russia anymore to find work, and could afford to buy a house.

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

excess water drainage




soil moisture


soil cover


soil compaction


nutrient cycling/ recharge




soil organic matter/ below ground C

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


plant diversity

Climate and disaster risk reduction

wind velocity


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local windstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

very positive


In the beginning the farmer was not sure about the short-term benefits, but he confirmed that even after just two years he received eight times more than what he invested initially.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • single cases/ experimental
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

1 household

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 11-50%

100% of land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

1 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

There is a strong trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Already 10 other farmers who noticed the success of this plot, have adopted this technology themselves.

Neighbour applied technologie spontaenously.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Improved livelihood as revenues are greater than those gained as a seasonal worker in Russia and enough capital produced to buy own house
Feeling confident about the future
Improved yields

How can they be sustained / enhanced? continue with application of organic manure, soil cover with plastic sheets, crop rotation, integrated pest management etc.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Greatly increased income opportunity in an arid environment

How can they be sustained / enhanced? disseminate knowledge to other farmers in the region
Diversified system and therefore reduced risk of production failure

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
increased conflicts as land users who used to cultivate this land before and gave up would now like to have the land back.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all