In September 2022, a large wildfire occurred in the Kostanay region, followed by another one in early June 2023 in the Abay region of the Republic of Kazakhstan. These wildfires devastated 90,000 hectares of pine forests and tragically claimed the lives of 15 forest rangers.
In support of Kazakhstan’s efforts to restore the damaged forest areas and enhance the national capacity of forest fire protection, the Secretariat for Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) proposed conducting a site survey on wildfire-affected areas during the visit of Mr. E. Zhanbyrshin, the Chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Natural Resources of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to the Republic of Korea in July 2023.
Following this suggestion, staff from AFoCO Secretariat and experts from the Korea Association of Forest Enviro-conservation Technology (KAFET) visited the forest areas damaged by wildfire in the Abay (Semey Ormany) and Kostanay (Basaman and Semozer) regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan from October 9 to 13, 2023. The team of experts conducted an on-site survey, assessing the basic characteristics of forest stands and soil. They also visited tree nurseries to confirm the process and capacity of seedling production required for forest restoration.
Additionally, they toured forest fire stations to observe forest fire monitoring and firefighting systems in the region. The forest employees of Semey Ormany of the Abai region and effective wildfire management and their demands for capacity building.
The nursery in the forest seed complex in Semey Ormany of the Abai region can provide up to 25 million pine seeds (Pinus sylvestris), including 3 million containerized pine seedings annually.
Based on the observations and information gathered from this site survey, the KAFET team, along with the AFoCO Secretariat, will provide technical recommendations and discuss further actions to facilitate forest restoration efforts aimed at rehabilitating forests landscapes degarded by large-scale forest fires the Republic of Kazakhstan AFoCO will also explore the organization of joint training programs in Korea targeted enhancing the capacities of Kazakhstan’s forest fire experts/officials, while providing a paltform to share and exchange knowledge and experiences related to forest fire management with the Korea Forest Service.
The KAFET team and AFoCO Secretariat staff were invited to a commemorative tree planting ceremony in the forest seed complex at the end of the visit.
Contributed by Niyaz Zholbarys, 2023 Fellowship Official from Kazakhstan