12:07 09.10.2017

FAO launches $12 mln project to benefit Ukraine's forest-steppe

FAO launches $12 mln project to benefit Ukraine's forest-steppe

 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a four-year, $12 million project to benefit Ukraine's forest-steppe.

According to the press release of FAO, the project is financed in part by the Global Environment Facility, or GEF.

The project will be launched in three regions – Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, where a demonstration area of 33,000 hectares will be created.

Interventions under the project will begin with the critical step of adjusting the legal and institutional framework in favor of sustainable management. Another element will be restoration of the productivity and resilience of production landscapes. Climate-smart agricultural practices will be introduced on 3,500 hectares of land.

FAO said that some 3,000 forest areas for wood production should be managed sustainably by 2021, reducing soil erosion problems. Broadleaf trees will be planted on agricultural land to ensure better carbon capture by the soil. Guidelines will be developed for windbreaks – currently unregulated and neglected area. A 1,000-hectare demonstration area will be set up in the forest-steppe zone, providing a wide range of ecosystem services related to regulation of water, pests and disease.

"We have several FAO projects in Europe and Central Asia financed the Global Environment Facility, but this is the first in Ukraine. These concern sustainable forest management, climate change and land degradation. Others are expected to follow, for example in Serbia, Moldova and Uzbekistan," FAO focal point for GEF in Europe and Central Asia Anastasiya Idrisova said.

FAO said that Agriculture dominates the landscape as it covers about 70% of the country's total land area. Forests rank second with 16%.

"Unfortunately, both agricultural and forest areas are degraded, depleted, or even contaminated. Soil erosion by water and wind, acidification and inundation are growing problems caused by inadequate management practices and exacerbated by climate change," FAO said.

"Agriculture employs 15% of the people," Idrisova added.

"The project has been designed so that at the end of the day, it will be those people who benefit most from farmland and forests being in better shape," she said.

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