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Range experts conduct consultations in Kyrgyzstan on responsible grazing

KYRGYZSTAN — The International Programs office, in partnership with a local NGO, CAMP Alatoo, sent four range management specialists to Kyrgyzstan in August to conduct consultations with pasture committees on incorporating an adapted version of the Grazing Response Index into local management practices. Over the 12-day trip, the group visited eight pilot project regions, four in northwest Kyrgyzstan and four in the southwest. It was clear to both the Forest Service travelers and to their hosts that it had a tremendous impact to have practitioners visit and share their experiences and expertise. And despite the miles and language barriers, the Forest Service detailers and their hosts were pleasantly surprised to discover how much they had in common, from a passion for pasture and range management to stories of children’s and grandchildren’s horsemanship exploits, the connections made on the trip were rich and deep.

Traveling on behalf of the Forest Service were Josh Voorhis, District Ranger, Pike and San Isabel NF; Jason Brengle, Rangeland, Invasives and Stock program manager, Shoshone NF; Angela Safranek, Rangelands and Invasives Program Leaders, Pike and San Isabel NF; and, Diane Weaver.

This trip was a follow-up to a Forest Service-led workshop on GRI and general range management principles held in Bishkek in September 2016. The International Programs office intends to continue its partnership with CAMP Alatoo to support the integration of GRI into local range management practices.

Josh Voorhis and Angela Safranek with a local parliament member, herder, and the herder’s family in northeast Kyrgyzstan. Forest Service photo.