View global case map

Ecosystem-based erosion control in the South Caucasus region

Azerbaijan Ismayilli district of Azerbaijan

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) initiated a program in collaboration with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Agriculture to combat the effects of pasture degradation on hillsides through improved management practices.

Nature-based Intervention:

This project blends the implementation of grey measures to tackle erosion(such as terraces and fences) with green measures (such as afforestation and orchard management). Combined they help stabilize the hillside and also provide alternative means for income generation. the project managers also helped to support alternative livelihoods by creating tree nurseries and supporting beekeeping in the area. Local experts were brought in to train the villagers on these practices. The steepest hills were stabilized with terraces and fruit tree orchards. In the eroded river beds they built several several check-dams in order to slow water flow and erosion rates. The eroded gullies were fenced for safety and then replanted with trees to stabilize the soil in the area. They also transitioned grazing pastures which had experienced heavy erosion into hay meadows.

Overview of context and outcomes:

In the mountain areas of Azerbaijan there are many heavily degraded pastures. This is mainly due to high intensity livestock grazing and poor management practices which lead to soil erosion and vegetation loss. These degraded pasture landscapes then lead to an elevated risk of landslides as well as decreased biodiversity and productivity. Predicted temperature increases and elevated risk of extreme weather events are likely to further exacerbate this degradation.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Not reported

The increase in plant biomass likely increased the amount of carbon stored by the landscape.

Adaptation: Positive

This project reportedly reduced the rate of erosion and vegetation loss in the area. Through stabilizing the steep hillsides they also reportedly reduced the risk of landslides within the project area.

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

This project has reportedly increased habitat quality and biomass cover in the region. The return of vegetation to the previously barren hillsides can help support local species.

Socioeconomic outcomes

In order to diversify the economy away from intensive grazing, measurers have been set up to establish alternative livelihoods. These include funding projects related to orchard management, beekeeping and hay production.


This program was governed using a participatory implementation strategy. They created a Community Management Group(CMG) to oversee the project and members of the group were chosen through municipality members voting. CMG consists of diverse members who work with natural resources and meets regularly to discuss further steps. The CMG provides its feedback and proposals to the District Administration, the Property Committee, the Rayon Agriculture Department and the regional department of the Ministry of Ecology. The CMG is also in charge of approving programme activities and resolving conflicts.


The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) funded this project.

Monitoring and evaluation

Socio-economic and ecological impacts of the erosion control interventions are monitored in order to convey results to surrounding communities.

Trade-offs and limitations

No information yet available on tradeoffs.

PDF   Close case
Azerbaijan hills side, green
Photo © Orkhan Farmanli
Targets poor/disadvantaged
Conducted at landscape scale

Ecosystem type

  • Created other

Climate change impacts addressed

  • Mudslides / Landslides
  • Soil erosion


  • State/district/local government agency
  • International development organization

Societal challenges

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Disaster risk reduction


  • Food security: Not reported
  • Water security: Not reported
  • Health: Not reported
  • Local economics: Not reported
  • Livelihoods/goods/basic needs: Positive
  • Energy security: Not reported
  • Disaster risk reduction: Positive
  • Rights/empowerment/equality: Not reported
  • Conflict and security: Not reported
  • No. developmental outcomes reported: 2


Read resource 1
Read resource 2

Literature info

  • Grey literature
Case methodology not reported