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Potential of Agroforestry to Provide Wood Resources to Central Asia

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Background: Agroforestry systems have the potential to provide timber and wood as a domestic raw material, as well as an additional source of income for rural populations. In Central Asia, tree windbreaks from mainly poplar trees have a long tradition, but were largely cut down as source for fuel wood after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As Central Asia is a forest-poor region, restoration of tree windbreaks has the potential to provide timber and wood resources to that region. This study aimed to assess the potential of tree windbreaks to contribute to domestic timber and wood production. Methods: This study rests on a GIS-based analysis, in which tree lines (simulated by line shape files) were intersected with cropland area. The tree data to calculate timber and wood volumes stem from a dataset with 728 single trees from a relevant range of climatic conditions. Results: The potential annually available timber volumes from tree windbreaks with 500 m spacing are 2.9 million m3 for Central Asia as a whole and 1.5 million m3 for Uzbekistan alone, which is 5 times the current domestic roundwood production and imports of the country. Conclusions: tree windbreaks offer untapped potential to deliver wood resources domestically as a raw material for wood-based value chains.

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