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Agriculture plays a substantial role and provides a high number of jobs in all countries of Central Asia. Thereby, considering whole Central Asia, irrigated agriculture in riparian oases is dominant. Along the major rivers, there are upstream-downstream conflicts over water and most of all downstream regions suffer from periods of water shortages. In the course of climate change, it is expected that river runoffs drop by 30%-50% until 2050. Therefore, it is imperative to increase the water use efficiency all over the region, i.e. reduce water consumption and increase income from irrigated agriculture. Furthermore, resilience must be built against unpredicted periods of extreme water scarcity. The goal of this project therefore is to provide scientific input that helps to increase water use efficiency, i.e. increase or stabilize farmers’ income at reduced water consumption, and build resilience against water stress. This project contributes to CRP Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, notably Theme 1 of Flagship 1 (i.e. Livelihood Systems, through identifying opportunities for smallholders to generate more income at the same or even lower overall water consumption).
From the literature it is known that agroforestry systems, in particular tree shelterbelts, in general help increasing yields and reducing water consumption of annual crops and additionally buffer the micro-climate against extreme events, like droughts. What is not known yet, is the water consumption of the trees in the shelterbelts themselves and the income opportunities from those trees. Therefore, this project investigates the water consumption, yields, and income of whole shelterbelt systems including tree and crop component versus corresponding non-shelterbelt systems, in order to show the water use efficiencies of whole shelterbelt systems versus corresponding non-shelterbelt systems.
This project will collect data in two model regions, i.e. Chui Valley (Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) and NE part of the Ferghana Valley (Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan). Thus, the results can be extrapolated to the whole Ferghana Valley with its roughly 12 million inhabitants and the northern forelands of Tianshan with its 3 million inhabitants. General conclusions form this project apply for whole Central Asia.
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