IDF 2017: US Forest Service blog post highlights Partnerships in Tajikistan

March 21 is the United Nations’ fifth annual International Day of Forests (link is external), and the U.S. Forest Service pauses to celebrate the importance and diversity of the world’s forests. Every year, the Forest Service commemorates this important day by celebrating collaborations with international partners to protect the health of forest ecosystems worldwide. This year, we are specifically looking at the connection between forests and energy.

Oshurbika Malabekova, is a resident of Roshorv village in Tajikistan’s remote Pamir highlands in Central Asia. To heat her home and cook, Oshurbika’s family has no good option. The family can pay exorbinant fees to have firewood transported in from another region, pay for gas or diesel (rarely available in her village), or venture on foot far from Roshorv to gather what little wood and shrubs remain.

Tajikistan’s Pamir Mountains are home to sensitive ecosystems and rich biodiversity, including rare flora and endangered fauna such as the beautiful snow leopard. Known locally as the “Roof of the World,” the Pamir Mountains are the center of the Pamir Knot, which is the point of convergence for Eurasia’s highest mountain ranges, including the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Tien Shan mountains.

The Pamir highlands have also long been home to people — rugged communities anchored in rich culture and tradition, but accustomed to surviving in the harsh conditions and energy poverty. Over time, the practice of gathering wood for fuel has had a significant negative impact on the biodiverse and fragile mountain ecosystems, particularly on the upper Bartang Valley.

Read the full blog post at