Utilization of Marginal Water and Lands in the Zeravshan River Basin as Part of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
Ibis paper considers how marginal mineralized waters and salt affected soils can contribute to land remediation and create additional nutrition values for livestock and agropastoral communities through cultivation of arid/semiarid salt loving plants (halophytes) under water scarcity conditions. The mobility of toxic pollutants is highly facilitated by both chemical properties of soils and the aridity of the climate. Plants under such environments face multiple stresses caused by high temperatures, water and soil salinity, heavy metals, high PH and long-tenn water-shmtage. There are limited numbers of native species along Zeravshan River Basin able to establish themselves in these soils and produce palatable biomass. Being irrigated with low quality drainage and the1mal artesian water, species of the genera Artemisia, Climacoptera, Alhagi, Glycyrrhiza and Kochia exhibited clear· distribution patterns and their abundance ar1d yield of green biomass varied significantly along salinity and ar·idity climatic gradients. The limits of mineralization of the marginal water optimum for crops growth and green biomass accumulation were found to be varied in the range of2000-8200 mg 1·1. The soil salinity at the root zone was about 45 dS m·1 and salinity level of the ground water was 8.0-16.5 dS m·1, inappropriate for the inigation oftraditional agricultural crops. A monitoring system for controlling interaction of chemical content of non-conventional in'igation water and salt affected soils through plants above-ground biomass over several sites in downstremn ar·ea of Zeravshan river flow was established. Altemative use of marginal water and lands play a significant role in finther development of climate change adaptation strategy leading to produce autumn-winter forage and improve the feeding system for livestock, thus diversifYing animal products and incomes of local agropastoral communities by ensuring sustainable ecosystem finlction and resilience.