Landscape and sustainable land management in Georgia

Project title: Applying Landscape and Sustainable Land Management (L-SLM) for Mitigating Land Degradation and Contributing to Poverty Reduction in Rural Areas (GEF ID:5825) 

  • Geographical scope: Georgia (Akhmeta, Dedoplistskaro and Gardabani Municipalities) 
  • Time frame: 2016-2019 
  • Priority area: Disasters and conflicts
  • Executing Partners: Ministry of Environment Protection of Georgia, through the Regional Environment Centre for the Caucasus (REC) 
  • Cofinanciers: Dedoplistskaro, Akhmeta and Gardabani municipalities, EU/UNDP programme “Sustainable Management of Pastures in Georgia to Demonstrate Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Benefits and Dividends for Local Communities”, GIZ project “Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus (IBiS), and NGOs “Green Alternative” and “GIS-lab”.  
  • Contribution to SDGs: SDG 15 (Life on Land) 

Environmental challenge: 

Land resources are limited in Georgia. Therefore, the protection of land and soil resources in Georgia is essential for the country. The total territory is 69.7 thousand square kilometres, including only 15% of cultivated land and 70% of natural-economic land use (forests, bushes, meadows and pastures).  

Due to specific climatic and landscape conditions, as well as improper agricultural practices, more than a third of agricultural lands are in the process of degradation, erosion, pollution, and damage of soil structure and nutrient loss. One form of land degradation concern is land desertification, which results in the progressive loss of plant cover in dry steppes and semi-deserts. Around 4% of the country (3000 km2) is vulnerable to the desertification process Overgrazing and uncontrolled grazing, poor forest management, loss of forest cover and unplanned urban sprawl are major drivers of land degradation in Georgia.    

According to the latest data, about 35% of agricultural lands are degraded. Land erosion is the most concerning problem related to land degradation. More than 1 million hectares of land are affected by erosion, from which plough-lands constitute 380 thousand hectares, pasture lands and hayfields, 570 thousand, and the Black Sea coastal line, 87 thousand hectares.  

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Kasristskali residencies - Kasristskali is a remote village in South-East Georgia. It is the central village of winter pastures for sheep farming.   
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Plantation of sainfoins (onobrychis) on enclosed land to increase soil fertility and the nutritional value of fodder. 

Project: 

The aim of the project is to support the integration of good Landscape and Sustainable Land Management (L-SLM) principles and practices into national policy and to develop the institutional framework for the adoption of economically viable practices by rural communities. 

This project assists Georgia to build urgently-needed capacities at all levels. This includes improving the existing regulatory framework, strengthening institutional coordination, lifting the baseline of national expertise, and designing clear pathways for the generation and dissemination of knowledge to foster informed decision-making at the national level and “on the ground” in rural communities. The project will also increase the capacity of the country to fulfill their obligations under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

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Any questions? 

For more information, please contact Ersin Esen, Global Environment Facility Task Manager: [email protected]