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Title: TEEB Scoping study for forestry sector of Azerbaijan
Authors: Abbasov, Rovshan
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: European Neighborhood And Partnership Instrument East Countries Forest Law Enforcement And Governance Ii Program
Abstract: The aim of the FLEG II Program is to promote sustainable forest governance, management, and protection of forests in the participating countries, including Azerbaijan. The program supports forest governance through enhancing forest policy, legislation and institutional arrangements, and implementing sustainable forest management models on a pilot basis. This TEEB scoping study, as a part of the FLEG II program, makes a preliminary analysis of the ecosystem services provided by forested areas in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijanis consider forests to be one of the most valuable natural resources in their country. It is estimated that the total area of forests and scrublands in Azerbaijan is more than 860,000 ha, most of which are located in mountain areas. Riparian and plain forests in Azerbaijan only occupy areas, where the groundwater table is rather close to the surface that may permanently supply trees with water. Forests in Azerbaijan provide a broad range of ecosystem services. In most of the rural areas, fuelwood is a major source of energy. Also, forested watersheds are the only source of drinking water for all of the population in Azerbaijan that live in mountain regions. In addition, forested mountain areas are the preferred recreational areas for tourists in Azerbaijan. In order to analyze the ecosystem services of forests, “Business as Usual” (BAU) and “Sustainable Ecosystem Management” (SEM) analytical approaches have been used. Under BAU management, nonsustained use of natural resources is understood, that gives only short-term gains. In this type of management, some stakeholders may maximize their benefits for short-term periods, causing substantial damages to ecosystems and, in this way, negatively affecting financial and social conditions of other stakeholders. Under the SEM management, economic benefits are maximized through planned and integrated use of natural resources. While economic benefits of some stakeholders under the SEM may be minimized for short-term periods, over the long-term periods, economic gains for all types of stakeholders are increased and sustained. Evaluation of the current state of the forestry sector and its policy context enables us to understand existing challenges and perspectives (TEEB foundations, 2010). The traditional BAU practices in Azerbaijan include illegal logging, unsustainable tourism, overgrazing and other activities. In addition, the impacts of climate changes are considered as a BAU practice, since it has mostly been recognized as the human induced phenomena. SEM is taken as an alternative policy to the BAU. All-inclusive analyses of alternative policies (BAU vs. SEM), including their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services is given. These analyses describe advantages of SEM practices over the long-term periods. This study also identifies key elements for a full TEEB study, including a roadmap of activities, and a list of important outputs to be delivered in such a study.
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