Opportunities for climate change mitigation and adaptation through afforestation of degraded lands in Central Asia


Agroecosystem services, agroforestry, land degradation and development, rural livelihood, policy impact analyses


Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan


The project aims to explore the role of small-scale plantation forestry for ecological restorations and rural livelihoods in response to growing water scarcity and cropland degradation. Conversion of marginalized and abandoned croplands to tree plantations is assessed as a strategy to increase the productive capacity of the land by improving soil fertility and provisioning useful products, and to contribute to the global effort of the climate change mitigation via carbon sequestration in biomass and soil. The research program encompasses agroforestry, eco-physiological, socio-economic and policy aspects to identify the environmental, economic, institutional and informational conditions under which the afforestation projects can be realized in the context of Central Asia and addresses (i) the bio-physical potential of afforestation such as availability and suitability of land, appropriate tree species and silvicultural techniques, impact on regional hydrology and (ii) the socio-economic incentives of afforestation including those provided by the Clean Development Mechanism. The final outcome will consist of science-based recommendations for land use policies that support both local and global public goods in this geo-strategically and politically important region. The first phase of the project focused on infrastructure, establishment of field trials and databases. In the current phase, the simulation tools are being developed to integrate and upscale the field findings.


Experimental designed field trials and process-based modeling, remote sensing of land degradation, farm and household surveys, cost-benefit and policy impact analyses using integrated modeling tools

Main Cooperation Partners

  • Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL), Bonn, Germany
  • Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, Bonn University
  • Hydrology Research Group, Department of Geography, Bonn University
  • Department of Geography, University of Würzburg
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific, and  Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Uzbekistan
  • Urgench State University (UrDU), Uzbekistan

Main Funding Partners

Robert Bosch Foundation



Djalilov B., Khamzina A., Hornidge A.-K., Lamers J.P.A. 2015. Exploring constraints and incentives for the adoption of agroforestry practices on degraded cropland in Uzbekistan. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2014.996283

Djanibekov U. and Khamzina A. 2014. Stochastic economic assessment of afforestation on marginal land in irrigated farming system. Environmental and Resource Economics. DOI: 10.1007/s10640-014-9843-3

Dubovyk O., Menz G., Khamzina A. 2014. Land suitability assessment for afforestation with Elaeagnus angustifolia L. in degraded agricultural areas of the lower Amu Darya River Basin. Land Degradation and Development.
DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2329

Schachtsiek T., Lamers J.P.A., Khamzina A. 2014. Early survival and growth of six afforestation species on abandoned cropping sites in irrigated drylands of the Aral Sea Basin. Arid Land Research and Management 28: 410-427.

Dubovyk O., Menz G., Conrad C., Thonfeld F., Khamzina A. 2013. Object-based identification of vegetation cover decline in irrigated agro-ecosystems in Uzbekistan. Quaternary International 311: 163-174.

Djanibekov U., Khamzina A., Djanibekov N., Lamers J.P.A. 2012. How attractive are short-term CDM forestations in arid regions? The case of irrigated croplands in Uzbekistan. Forest Policy and Economics 21: 108-117.

Khamzina A., Lamers J.P.A., Vlek P.L.G. 2012. Conversion of degraded cropland to tree plantations for ecosystem and livelihood benefits. In: Martius C., Rudenko I., Lamers J.P.A., Vlek P.L.G. (eds.), Cotton, Water, Salts and Soums - Economic and Ecological Restructuring in Khorezm, Uzbekistan. Springer Science+Business Media, B.V., pp 235-248.

Duration of the Project

1 September 2009 - 30 August 2015


  • Prof. Dr. Asia Khamzina
  • Begzod M. Djalilov
  • Holm Voigt
  • Dr. Sevim Seda Yamaç
  • Dr. Navneet Kumar
  • Marco Brendel
  • Gregor Qualitz


  • Dr. Utkur Djanibekov
  • Dr. rer. nat. Olena Dubovyk
  • Dr. Nobusuke Iwasaki
  • Dr. Tilman Schachtsiek
  • Julia Tüshaus, M.Sc.
  • Alfredo Jakob, M.Sc.
  • Sujan Maharjan, M.Sc.
  • Suman Ghimire, M.Sc.
  • Theresa Fabian, M.Sc.
  • Inken Rabbel, M.Sc.


Asia Khamzina

Prof. Dr. Asia Khamzina