Human Impacts on Forest Biodiversity in Protected Walnut-Fruit Forests in Kyrgyzstan
Journal of Sustainable Forestry
We used a spatially explicit model of forest dynamics, supported by empirical field data and socioeconomic data, to examine the impacts of human disturbances on a protected forest landscape in Kyrgyzstan. Local use of 27 fruit and nut species was recorded and modeled. Results indicated that in the presence of fuelwood cutting with or without grazing, species of high socioeconomic importance such as Juglans regia, Malus spp., and Armeniaca vulgaris were largely eliminated from the landscape
... the landscape after 50-150 yr. In the absence of disturbance or in the presence of grazing only, decline of these species occurred at a much lower rate, owing to competitive interactions between tree species. This suggests that the current intensity of fuelwood harvesting is not sustainable. Conversely, current grazing intensities were found to have relatively little impact on forest structure and composition, and could potentially play a positive role in supporting regeneration of tree species. These results indicate that both positive and negative impacts on biodiversity can arise from human populations living within a protected area. Potentially, these could be reconciled through the development of participatory approaches to conservation management within this Human Impacts on Forest Biodiversity 455 reserve, to ensure the maintenance of its high conservation value while meeting human needs. FIGURE 1 (a) Map showing the location of the Sary-Chelek Biosphere Reserve within Kyrgyzstan. (b) Elevation map derived from 50 m contour lines produced by the Kyrgyz Forest Service. (c) Land cover map for the study area simulated; this was derived from the land cover map produced by the Kyrgyz Forest Service and elevation map shown in (b). Grey areas were excluded from the simulation and are represented by sites above 2,100 m a.s.l.-human settlements, lakes and rivers, ice and rocks-where walnut-fruit species cannot establish. Core and transition areas were mapped based on the Sary-Chelek Forest Management Plan 2003-2013 (see text for more details).