Pollinator-friendly Ecosystems Revive Degraded Land
The majority of Kazakhstan’s total land area is comprised of permanent pasture and meadows that are used by the agricultural sector, the country's industrial and economic backbone, employing nearly half of the population.
However, intensive agricultural practices are jeopardizing biodiversity and food security in the country. The overuse of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, reliance on monoculture, and rapid rotation between forage crops and other cash crops, are degrading land and reducing biodiversity. In more recent years, these consequences have been exacerbated by climate change.
Through a collaboration with scientists, researchers, policymakers, farmers’ collectives and beekeeping unions, UNDP has since 2019 supported Kazakhstan in developing a nature-based approach to sustainable agriculture that protects the soil and the species that inhabit it.
UNDP’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network promotes the integration of indigenous knowledge and innovative technologies, such as the green grass/honeycomb conveyor which is planted alongside pollinator-friendly crops like apples and sunflowers to stimulate cross-pollination.
The use of pollinators also contributes to wider climate goals. Researchers from Kazakhstan's livestock sector have estimated that, between 2020 and 2024, an equivalent of 6 million tons of СО2 can be sequestered in the soil thanks to a green grass conveyer.
New agricultural practices that employ efficient irrigation systems, high-value crops, and pollinator-friendly ecosystems, have contributed to the rehabilitation of 101 hectares of land and improved access to water in the Aral Sea region. Concurrently, 300 new jobs have been created on sustainably managed farms, 3900 women have been trained in resilient agricultural methods, and over 7700 farmers have increased their incomes by 30-79 per cent.
Merging science with sustainable agriculture practices has reduced the levels of hazardous pollutants in the soil, air and water, improved the welfare and health of over 176,000 people in the region, built resilience to climate hazards and natural disasters, and boosted sustainable long-term development.