Legal Arrangements and Pasture-Related Socio-ecological Challenges in Kyrgyzstan

  • Andrei DörreEmail author
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


This chapter has two objectives. The first one is to emphasize the important role of legal institutions for the emergence of natural resource-related social and ecological problems in Kyrgyzstan’s post-Soviet era. Second, it advocates for a participatory approach to the creation of institutional regulations regarding the management and utilization of resources. It is important to consider that grasslands have an economic importance from the macroeconomic national level down to the level of local households, as well as crucial ecological meanings. For these reasons, pastures are significant for the development processes of Kyrgyzstan’s whole society. The hypothesis to be explored here is that formal institutions, especially top-down-initiated legal rules implemented since 1991, are decisively contributing to the formation of socio-ecological pasture-related challenges. I argue that it could be misleading and insufficient to explain these problems through neo-Malthusian arguments. The causes are much more complex. Utilization practices applied by the actors can be understood as results of the interplay of economic necessities, weak legal institutions, legal uncertainty and a related lack of reliable planning opportunities. In this way, inappropriate and unstable legal arrangements are stimulating the processes of socio-economic stratification and disintegration of the society as well as those of pasture degradation. Based on findings obtained during field studies in the walnut-fruit forest region, this article advocates for the principles of an integrated sustainable development of Kyrgyzstan’s society in economic, social and ecological matters. Management responsibilities, access and utilization rights need to be matched to the specifics of local contexts and legitimized through participatory approaches. Including the local population in the institution-building process can make a decisive contribution to the development of Kyrgyzstan by balancing different interests.


Kyrgyzstan Transition Legislation Pastures Resource conflicts Degradation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Geography, Department of Earth Sciences, Centre for Development Studies (ZELF), Institute of Geographic SciencesFreie UniversitätBerlinGermany

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