How to revitalise A FELLED TREE the credibility of the green discourse in Central Asia?

Currently, almost all cities in the CIS demolish the head of a tree and leave nothing behind - and there is one such big stump, a pole. And they call it tagging. It is one of the big problems in every city in the CIS. The conclusion – we have the same heritage, because our cities were greened in the 50s – is the mass greening of Tashkent, Tajikistan, and Almaty in particular. Astana was landscaped later. Greening was done according to a single standard - alleys, parks, squares. There was an approach - dynamic landscaping, when plants are grown, plants are planted.
Who opens the door to big politics for every leaf of your favourite maple tree?
Active citizens! It is they who have gathered around the topic of tree protection.
And there are two areas of focus:
- "Backyard" eco-activism. This includes housing associations and housing committees as custodians of the green fund of the commuter towns.
- Professional movement of NGOs and civic eco-movement.

Heroes in green studies, mapping, counting trees. Make the case for a law on green spaces.


In Bishkek, the problem of trees being cut down as a result of road widening has been pressing for several years. Consequences for the citizens became particularly evident after this year's abnormal heat wave, from 40 degrees across the capital to 60 degrees on Bishkek's thermometers, occurred in July 2020. And for cutting down each tree that grew, provided shade, humidified and purified the air for 30 years, there will be a fine of only a few thousand soms, while simple economic calculations show that the cost of one tree in Bishkek could exceed 1m soms, environmentalists say.
Dmitry Pereyaslavsky, coordinator of education programmes at the Archa Initiative, told us about what can be seen on a thermal map of Bishkek:

"Here, look, the point on the map changes. It was either a water body or a green area. These maps were made at different times, and we can see that there were lower temperatures here before. Instead of a green area, we now have a wasteland, and the temperature has risen a lot. If you look at the Botanical Gardens or the Karagache Grove, the areas on the map are very green and the temperatures are much lower.

The temperature difference in different parts of the city is achieved by compensating through trees/green spaces. And this is the general thought behind Bishkek's civic ecologists' research.

Diana, who protects
the "little elephants"
Our heroine Diana can be called the real Eco-Mother of the historical district of Bishkek. The court battle for the rights of children and "little elephants" turned into a civil confrontation between six houses and even one developer from Switzerland.

"The court recognised us - the residents of the apartment buildings - as a third interested party only in the third year of this dispute between the mayor's office and the developer", said Diana.

Now almost all CIS cities "demolish the head" of a tree and, simply, leave the stump and call it topping. It's one of the big problems in many cities.

In fact, topiary, or topiary, is the art of giving original forms to trees or shrubs by cutting their branches. Plants are given various geometric shapes, figures of animals, birds, people.

Benefits or harms
Pruning "without rules" is also carried out in the bedroom areas of Bishkek. The associations of homeowners do not want such "art" in their yards...

In Bishkek, they can turn to specialists in landscaping for courses on pruning and tree care. The ARCHA Initiative Foundation insists - it is better to come to the training as a team of 3 people at once: a housekeeper, a gardener and a resident-activist. Then they will no longer have to call in city services, which only demolish the tops of healthy trees and leave them without a crown. The microclimate in bedroom communities suffers from such pruning, the air is not humidified and purified sufficiently, and living conditions worsen. This leads to increased ecological disparities

Start in your own backyard
As an activist and campaigner for "Our Right", she battles against illegal logging, housing developments and retrogressive laws.

Bishkek, home to more than a million people, is now an environmental disaster. According to reports, the level of air pollution in some places in Bishkek exceeds the maximum allowable norms by 14 times!

Trees are the only natural protectors of people from harmful emissions!
(from the text of the activists' petition)
The Green Fund of Bishkek’s Neighborhoods. The Keepers
Homeowners associations save trees that are decades old and do not give up territory for car parks.

  • Defend the adjoining territory.
  • Do not let them turn it into a car park
  • Involve children in common yard care efforts
Kiryanova Olga Mikhailovna from the housing committee in the Tunguch-1 neighborhood in Bishkek
She involves local authorities and residents in greening
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