Central Asia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, threatening wildlife populations, habitats, and ecosystem services.
The Central Asian Mammals and Climate Adaptation (CAMCA) project is working with communities and governments in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan to increase the resilience of flagship mountain species – snow leopard, argali, Central Asian ibex, Tien Shan maral, Bukhara deer, Himalayan brown bear – and associated ecosystems to climate change and related threats.
The goal of the CAMCA project is to contribute to increased climate change resilience of wildlife and people and to achieve greater conservation of biodiversity by:
- Providing technical assistance, advice and knowledge to improve the understanding of climate change vulnerability of flagship species, their habitats and vulnerability to climate change-related drivers;
- Developing and testing participatory tools and methods for ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and climate change-informed wildlife management;
- Establishing incentives for EbA and climate change-informed wildlife management to ensure long-term sustainability; and
- Communicating and raising awareness about the options and benefits of EbA and climate change-informed wildlife management
Through its activities, CAMCA aims to:
- Encourage the long-term conservation of important habitats and species, maintaining or increasing the natural capital / natural wealth of these ecosystems;
- Generate knowledge about potential impacts of climate change on existing protected area networks;
- Develop climate change-informed tools and enhance the resilience of both ecosystems and livelihoods, including to climate related shocks; and
- Contribute to the social, political, and economic empowerment of local communities through strengthened community-based, sustainable, and climate change-informed wildlife and pasture management and opportunities for more stable incomes in communities (e.g., ecotourism, sustainable hunting).
Kazakhstan’s long-term priority is to improve the natural environment in the country. With its high-altitude zones, Kazakhstan is endowed with an enormous diversity of mountain ecological systems. However, climate change is accelerating changes in both mountain habitats and the desertification grazing lands, affecting both wildlife and livestock and the people whose livelihoods depend upon them. Human-wildlife conflict and poaching, which can increase the vulnerability of species to climate change, are additional challenges for wildlife. There is also a low awareness of and weak participation in biodiversity preservation from civil society.
Kazakhstan is a member of International Conference on Sustainable Development and is signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), regional CMS instruments, and participates in the Central Asian Mammal Initiative (CAMI) which facilitates regional cooperation for the conservation of migratory species. it is signatory party to the CMS Bukhara Deer MoU and has developed a National Snow Leopard Ecosystem Priority Protection (NSLEP) which also recognizes climate change as a threat to the snow leopard. Migratory species, such as the argali, snow leopard, Central Asian ibex, and Bukhara deer are recognized as endangered in Kazakhstan.
Mountain ecosystems of Kyrgyzstan harbour important migratory species such as argali sheep and snow leopard. However, these are under threat due to increasing anthropogenic pressures, including livestock grazing, natural resource extraction, and climate change-induced land-use changes (e.g., increased area and duration of livestock grazing). Climate change is also radically changing the habitats of species as glaciers are increasingly melting away. Since gaining its independence, many protected areas in Kyrgyzstan have been operating on reduced budgets, staffing, and equipment. There has been some improvement in recent years to involve local communities in forest and pasture management and advance species monitoring and conservation in international projects. The CAMCA project will increase knowledge on climate vulnerabilities of migratory species and by introducing methods for climate change-informed management of wildlife in and outside of protected areas.
Kyrgyzstan is a member of the international Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD), a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and participates in the Central Asian Mammals Initiative (CAMI) which facilitates regional cooperation for the conservation of migratory species. Migratory species, such as the argali, snow leopard, and Central Asian ibex are recognized as endangered in Kyrgyzstan.
Climate change is recognised as a challenge in Tajikistan and is identified as one of the obstacles to migration for terrestrial mammal species. Intensive poaching in Tajikistan has led to a sharp reduction in the populations and ranges of mountain ungulates. Because protection outside protected areas receives little attention, community-based conservation initiatives become even more important. CAMCA has a strong focus on working with local communities and involving them in climate change-informed wildlife management.
Tajikistan is a member of International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD), a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and a number of its regional CMS instruments (e.g., Bukhara deer, argali, etc.), and participates in the Central Asian Mammals Initiative (CAMI) which facilitates regional cooperation for the conservation of migratory species.