FutureWater's role in this project is to provide remote sensing and GIS services with an aim of highlighting degraded areas of land in Kyrgyzstan and determining where restoration interventions are possible. The identification of highly degraded areas is achieved by analysing a number of remote sensing products, notably including NDVI trends over time from MODIS and Landsat. This is combined with a connectivity analysis to determine sediment sourcing hotspots using the sediment delivery model InVEST. These analyses are complemented by a feasibility study to help determine areas in which restoration is possible based on a variety of open source GIS datasets (e.g. population density, ownership / management data). When these steps are integrated, a suitability map can be generated to help prioritise restoration interventions. The methodology is initially applied on the Toktogul basin as a pilot before being upscaled to the national scale.
Kyrgyzstan is a highly mountainous country with relatively high precipitation in upslope areas. This, alongside the development and deforestation of basins to make way for industry and agriculture means that land has become increasingly degraded and vulnerable to erosion over recent decades. Reservoirs in the country provide access to water resources and energy in the form of hydropower, but are highly susceptible to sedimentation by eroded material. Sedimentation necessitates increased maintenance costs, reduces storage capacity and disrupts hydropower generation. It is therefore proposed that landscape scale restoration measures (e.g. tree planting) can provide key ecosystem services by reducing vulnerability to erosion and decreasing sediment delivery to reservoirs. This project therefore identifies highly degraded areas of land and determines in which of these interventions are possible. With the outcomes of this study, the World Bank – in partnership with the government of Kyrgyzstan – can prioritise investments in terms of landscape restoration efforts. The outcomes of this project will therefore reduce maintenance costs for reservoirs and contribute to the afforestation and restoration of multiple areas in Kyrgyzstan.