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Tree Planting Counters Landslides and Erosion in Kazbegi

Over 1000 trees were planted on the mountain slopes near the village Karkucha in Kazbegi municipality to restore degraded land and reduce the risks associated with recurrent landslides.

The tree planting and reinforcement works were implemented by the ecological farming association “Sema” with assistance from the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Kazbegi Municipality City Hall.

On 8 May 2018, representatives of Kazbegi Municipality, Kazbegi National Park Administration, UNDP and the Public School of the village Sno visited Karkucha to take part in the ongoing tree planting.

Kazbegi is one of Georgia’s unique natural reserves, famous for its stunning mountain views, rich pastures and biodiversity. At the same time, the region is prone to natural disasters, including mudflows and landslides. Excessive use of pastures, illegal tree lodging and degradation of coniferous trees over the years added up to the environmental decline and brought local pastures on the verge of depletion.

In 2017, the ecological farming association “Sema” came up with a plan to address the challenge and bring Karkucha pastures back to life. The initiative was supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme with USD 28,000.

Since then, “Sema” has carried out the geo-ecological and hydro-meteorological assessment of the affected territories and has reinforced most vulnerable slopes against erosion and landslides with the rock-filled gabions and trees. In addition to its immediate benefits, this initiative will contribute to restoring natural forest in the selected areas and raising environmental awareness among the municipality residents.

Restoration of Karkucha pastures is one of over 50 local projects funded under the GEF Small Grants Programme since 2012. The GEF Small Grants Programme is a global environmental action which provides financial and technical support to the local community projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods. In Georgia, the GEF Small Grants Programme is being implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture.