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1 November 2018 Afforestation and Reforestation of Walnut Forests in Southern Kyrgyzstan: An Economic Perspective
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Abstract

Kyrgyzstan is home to one of the largest areas of natural walnut forest in the world. These forests support significant genetic diversity of many important ancestral strains of fruit and nut tree species. The walnuts from those forests are a major source of cash income for many households in that region. Most of the walnut forests are overgrazed, which effectively hinders natural rejuvenation. This has resulted in overaged and degraded forests. Currently, tree cutting for timber is forbidden under a moratorium. In some instances, walnut trees grow in agroforestry systems together with potato and corn as annual crops or apples and berries, alongside hay. Reforestation and afforestation in the walnut forest region is imperative to secure walnut harvests and associated incomes once the existing trees start bearing fewer nuts. The objective of this study was to analyze the economic performance of a range of representative combinations of annual crops, berries, and fast-bearing fruit trees in reforestation and afforestation plots. This included hypothetical timber utilization in order to be able to bridge the income gap until newly planted walnut trees bear nuts. Data were based on semistructured household and expert interviews. In all plots there was grassy vegetation, which was harvested for hay. In some of the plots, corn and potatoes were grown as annual crops. Additionally, in part of the plots apple and berries were grown next to walnuts. The net present value of the farming systems for a 20-year period was highest for the 2 systems that included hypothetical timber utilization. Walnut and haymaking performed worst, with a negative net present value. All non-timber systems yielded an income gap until around year 10, when walnut trees begin to fruit.

© 2018 Hardy et al. This open access article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Please credit the authors and the full source.
Kara A. Hardy, Niels Thevs, Kumar Aliev, and Martin Welp "Afforestation and Reforestation of Walnut Forests in Southern Kyrgyzstan: An Economic Perspective," Mountain Research and Development 38(4), 332-341, (1 November 2018). https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-17-00046.1
Received: 1 February 2018; Accepted: 1 October 2018; Published: 1 November 2018
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