Seasonal Pasture Use and Vegetation Cover Changes in the Alai Valley, Kyrgyzstan

  • Jie LiuEmail author
  • Teiji Watanabe
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


This chapter discusses the relationship between seasonal grazing activities and changes in the vegetated area (1990–2013) in the eastern Alai Valley, Kyrgyzstan. The results of interviews with local inhabitants showed that the study area is classified into three types of pastures based on seasonal use: (1) spring and autumn pastures (SA-type pastures) located in the western part of the study area, (2) summer pastures (S-type pastures) located in the centre of the study area and (3) all-season (except the snowfall period) pastures (A-type pastures) located in the east part of the study area. The normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) value derived from Landsat satellite imagery has been used to analyse changes in vegetation cover during the post-Soviet era. The map showing changes in the distribution of vegetation cover indicates that some degraded pastureland has been recovered from 1990 to 2013. Moreover, vegetation cover remained relatively stable in SA-type and A-type pastures from 1990 to 2013, because more than 70% of these two pasture types presented no change. Great amount of densely vegetated area increased in A-type pasture (38.4%). The vegetation cover of SA-type pastures increased, primarily due to the plantation of winter fodder (rye). The decrease amount in the entire area is not noticeable (1.3%). Vegetation cover mainly decreased on S-type pastures (2.1%) and near the main river across the entire area. This result may be due to higher grazing intensity in these areas. S-type pastures had the highest grazing intensity, with these pastures being characterised by the highest percentage of overgrazed slopes (53.8%) and the lowest percentage of slopes without terraces (34.6%). SA-type pastures had the lowest grazing intensity and were characterised by the lowest percentage of overgrazed slopes (29.5%) and the highest percentage of slopes without terraces (60.0%). Compared to the other two pasture types, the use of S-type pastures exerted a more negative influence on the sustainability of vegetation cover.


Seasonality in pasture use Vegetation cover Grazing intensity Slope degree Alai Valley Kyrgyzstan 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gradual School of Environmental ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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