Members of the Inter-Ministerial Working Group (IWG) to develop guidelines for a unified methodology for rangeland monitoring held a regular meeting. The agenda included a practical demonstration of the "measuring stick" and "crossing lines" methods used to assess rangeland conditions in the KR.
The 'measuring stick' method was presented by Talant Toktosunov, project specialist of CAMP Alatoo PF. According to him, this method allows users to carry out their own pasture assessment using a smartphone through a mobile application, which includes two techniques for estimating projective cover and determining yields. To estimate projective cover, a measuring stick, 1 metre long, with five divisions marked on it, is used. This tool can be used to spot-collect data on the state of the pastures according to common indicators. All this data is entered by the user into the mobile application "Pasture Monitoring" developed by the staff of the CAMP Alatoo PF within the framework of the Kyrgyz-German project on the conservation of nut forests and pastures, which was implemented with the support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Cooperation).
"Whereas previously all data was recorded on a paper form, which at any time could get wet in the rain or fly away with a gust of wind, now, thanks to the mobile app, information is securely stored on a central server, archived and can be accessed by the committees at any time," said Talant Toktosunov.
According to the methodology of the CAMP Alatoo PF, yield estimation is carried out through the harvesting method. The biomass collected from 1 m² at the monitoring point is divided into livestock eatable and non-eatable plants. The wet mass is weighed before and after drying and the results are also entered into a mobile app and then sent to a central server.
Natalia Barakanova, member of the working group and pasture expert, demonstrated the 'crossing lines' method to the participants. It differs from the "measuring stick" method in that instead of a stick a rope is used, which is stretched over pegs placed crosswise over an area of 10 m by 20 m. Along the entire length of the rope there are divisions of 20 cm. Indicator data is collected point by point from these marks. Using this method, the yield estimate is also determined using the harvesting method.
After demonstrations of the methodologies, the working group members moved on to a discussion in which it was unanimously decided to adopt the "measuring stick" method as the basis for the future unified methodology for pasture assessment at local level. After discussion the members of the working group noted that this method is convenient for data collection, they also noted its practicality in the field conditions. As a result of the meeting the members of the IWG decided to integrate some indicators of the crossline method in the development of a single instruction, thus complementing the set of indicators in the unified methodology.
It should be noted that the initiative to develop a unified methodology for monitoring and assessment of pasture conditions belongs to the Department of Pastures and Livestock Breeding of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic. Its implementation is supported by the regional GIZ programme "Integrated Land Use and Climate Change in Central Asia", in the framework of which the department also receives expert support to create and institutionalise a unified methodology for monitoring and assessment of pasture conditions based on the methodology of joint land assessment.
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