Tajikistan is a country with very little forest area. Only 3 per cent of the land is forested. Because of their mountainous origin and location in the water formation zone, these forests are important for water protection and water regulation purposes, as well as for soil protection and disaster risk reduction. Although the forests are subject to strict protection, their condition is constantly deteriorating due to anthropological influences.
"Due to intensive cattle grazing and illegal logging, the annual rate of deforestation exceeds the natural biomass growth in the forests. According to some estimates, the area of juniper forests is shrinking by about 2-3% per year. Such a rate could lead not only to irreversible desertification but also to an increase in natural disasters. This is a real threat to agricultural activities and to the lives of local people," said Zhyldyz Shigayeva, a senior research fellow at the Mountain Societies Research Institute, UCA's Graduate School of Development.