Assessment of Pastures in Vashlovani National Park

Publication date: 2013
Description:

This report describes the results of a rapid assessment of pastures in Vashlovani National Park (VNP) conducted for the project: Sustainable Management of Pastures in Georgia to Demonstrate Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Benefits and Dividends for Local Communities (UNDP/EU).The assessment was carried out during 7 May to 17 June, 2013 and covered VNP as well as five other sites previously proposed as potential alternative pastures for some of the sheep farms currently using VNP.The study had major time limitations and the timing and period of the contract implied that the assessment could begin in the second half of May i.e. during the time when there is no grazing on the pastures of Vashlovani national park (VNP). Therefore, the assessment does not take into account the situation in autumn or winter during which time there are sheep on VNP.The primary objectives were(i) to identify the most degraded sections and classify all VNP pastures according to their current status (degradation/productivity), (ii) to propose rehabilitation/management measures for priority sections, (iii) to identify potential alternative pastures outside VNP and propose relevant recommendations.The assessment relied on existing information combined with new field data; using ground data, GIS technology and Landsat TM imagery 2010, we developed a primary model of pastures in Vashlovani.As expected from its geographical location, terrain features and high diversity of habitats/physical conditions, the aboveground biomass appears to be unevenly distributed throughout VNP. However, a general pattern can be detected: the productivity of pastures tends to decrease toward the south while the best pastures are in the northern parts of VNP.In full compliance with a previous assessment, we found that, overall, the VNP pastures are in good condition. Both the vegetation cover and standing biomass are on the high side considering the soil and climate conditions.While nearly half of all the pastures in VNP were classified as “excellent”, a fifth of them were classified as “poor”. The latter pastures may need special attention as they may be particularly susceptible to non-sustainable grazing and/or climate change.A significant degraded area is found in the central part of VNP and the degradation is apparently caused by intensive, unorganized and unrestricted sheep movement.No de facto vacant pastures were identified and according to the local authorities no de jure vacant pastures are currently available in the vicinity of VNP.Three sites in the Chachuna area may be considered as feasible alternatives for some of the VNP farms solely based on the actual status of the pastures - their geographical location and the potential for improvement through proper management or restoration measures.

Theme of the document:
Economy
Environment
Countries:
Georgia
Source:
EU project
Type of Document:
Country report
Number of pages:
40