Grassland extent and condition mapping in Azerbaijan
The biodiversity of the South Caucasus is of global importance, but the huge variety of species and the proper functioning of the ecosystems are under threat. Especially the grassland areas of Azerbaijan are under heavy anthropogenic pressure, including unsustainable management practices, overgrazing, land use conversion to crop land, infrastructure projects, and climate change. The objectives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan and of the GIZ IBiS (Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus) program are therefore to put a hold on further degradation of grasslands, to conserve and sustainably use winter and summer pastures and hay meadows, and to increase the productivity of those areas.
Solid data on grassland extent and status is a prerequisite to achieve these aims and to support the decision-making process, develop policies on pastures management and improve the understanding of the actual condition of grasslands. Therefore, activities within the GRAZE project comprise field campaigns for the collection of in situ data, the development of an approach for the delineation and classification of grassland areas, and the estimation grassland condition and productivity nationwide in Azerbaijan. Based on historical (Landsat) and current (Sentinels) multi-temporal satellite imagery, the degradation status of grassland areas will be assessed.
The GRAZE project is conducted together with the GIZ IBiS program in Baku, the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, and the E.C.O Institute in Klagenfurt. It is funded by GIZ.