Research on sustainable land management in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan lacks interface between research and action
The research on sustainable land management in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan lacks interface between research and action, proper understanding of social-ecological systems beyond simple cause-and-effect, finds the Research Brief "Strengthening Research for Sustainable Land Management in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan" by the Mountain Societies Research Institute of the University of Central Asia.
Lack of collaboration between local and international researchers is named as another challenge to effective, applied sustainable land management research.
Each of the challenge mentioned above is exacerbated by the tension and confusion surrounding the assumed parallel application of the Western concept of sustainable land management (SLM) and the Soviet concept of rational use of land resources (RULR), which are different in fact.
The RULP principle fit the planned economy but lacks relevance for contemporary decentralized resource governance.
The research review and a stakeholder feedback session concluded that directly applicable research on SLM is rare in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Less than 14% of all publications and none of the local academic literature included participatory research processes.
The SLM literature pays little attention to the implications of changes in land use and management for ecosystem services or how people respond to them. This suggests a continued reliance on simple cause-and-effect understanding, while systems thinking, which is used in other parts of the world, emphasizes the impact of land use change on social-ecological systems services and decision-making.
The following recommendations are offered:
- research should be participatory to ensure use of its outputs by end users;
- systems thinking should be used in research to better understand full implications of decisions;
- access to research findings should be increased to broaden collaboration between local and international researchers through knowledge mapping, online and open access to academic publications.