Utilization of Nature Resources in the Context of Structural Uncertainties. A Political Ecology of Kyrgyzstan’s Pastures in Times of Social Transformations

As a part of the interdisciplinary research project “The Impact of the Transformation Process on Human-Environmental Interactions in Southern Kyrgyzstan” the study was devoted to the post-Soviet societal relationships with nature resources in Kyrgyzstan through the example of pasturelands. Social transformations basically imply changes in the political-juridical and the socioeconomic spheres of a society. Such radical processes change the scopes of action of the people, on the one hand, creating differentiated opportunities not given before and, on the other hand, they limit hitherto existing options and degrees of freedom, or even completely prevent them. The ability to have nature-based resources at one’s disposal became more important within the income generation strategies of the people that live in Kyrgyzstan’s society, which is characterized by a strong agrarian sector. Against the background of changed social conditions, new forms, patterns, and intensities of usage of pastures and other nature resources were established. The study showed that in the course of the post-Soviet transformation process, varied forms of structural insecurity came into existence, constituting an important framework for pasture resource-related practices of actors and organizations. The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.Further Reading: Dörre, A. & P. Borchardt (2012): Changing systems, changing effects: Pasture utilization in the course of the post-Soviet transition. Case studies from southwestern Kyrgyzstan. In: Mountain Research and Development, vol. 32, iss. 3, pp. 313-323