Impact of Kyrgyz Home Garden Management Practices on Production, Pollination, and Species DiversityEPA Grant Number: U916092
Title: Impact of Kyrgyz Home Garden Management Practices on Production, Pollination, and Species Diversity
Investigators: Currey, Robin C.D.
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2005
Project Amount: $113,447
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Natural and Life Sciences , Biology/Life Sciences
The overall goal of this research project is to determine how current management practices of Kyrgyz influence the productivity of home garden plots and the sustainability of these practices. The specific objectives of this research project are to: (1) document plant-selection practices and determine if temperate home gardens are, or can be, in situ reservoirs of cultigen diversity; (2) determine the role of home-garden production in household economies; (3) compare soil characteristics in gardens under different management conditions and determine how these conditions influence yields of apples, apricots, and currants; and (4) determine if pollination limitation is as serious of a problem in gardens of the Kyrgyz Republic as it has been found to be in the high-elevation orchards of the Himalayan region for apples, apricots, and currants.
For the long-term preservation of plant biodiversity, understanding the ecology and the factors influencing management of human-occupied spaces, such as home gardens, are as important as the study of protected areas. This is especially true in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country of the former Soviet Union, where there are growing concerns about the ecological sustainability of current land-use practices at a time when the Kyrgyz are experiencing a severe economic recession and relying heavily on food products procured from home gardens. Ecology, economics, and culture contribute to degradation and offer the potential for more sustainable use of natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity. My integrated research project will investigate the ecological, botanical, and economic importance of home gardens in Kyrgyzstan.
This research project involves the study of ecological processes and biodiversity in an anticipated sample of 120 home gardens in addition to a survey of more than 1,000 households in 7 villages that was conducted in 2003, to study cultural differences and influences on management practices in the gardens (e.g., demographics, economic necessity/return, yields). This research project is being conducted in Issyk-Kul Oblast, northern Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, with the full cooperation of national, regional, and local Kyrgyz horticultural and cultural experts. Plant selection and management strategies by Kyrgyz citizens of different ethnicities will continue to be documented. Garden and orchard structure, soil characteristics, temperatures, and light availability will be described and quantified. Pollination rates for apples, apricots, and currants will be quantified in 2004-2005.
Combined, the results of this research project should identify what factors (economic, ecological, and sociocultural) are enhancing or limiting home garden production in an area that is fairly representative of conditions in other Central Asian countries.