In the Republic of Moldova, soil erosion and landslides from anthropogenic activities and natural processes are major land-use issues from an economic and environmental point of view. The degraded lands are advsersely impacted by physical, chemical, and biological processes, such as accelerated erosion, leaching, soil compaction, salinization and drying. If these problems are allowed to continue, it could result in long-term adverse impacts on the land productivity in several parts of the country.
The Moldova Community Forestry Development project is implemented to address the land degradation issue by creating new community forests through the afforestation of 10,000 hectares of eroded and unproductive lands, application of agro-forestry practices, and creation of forest protection belts. The project is enhancing greenhouse gas removals by sinks, improving forest and pastoral resources at local and regional level, providing wood to the local population, and contributing to local and regional sustainable development.
The project is implemented by the National Forest Agency of Moldova (Moldsilva). The sale of certified emission reduction credits (CERs) from afforestation/reforestation activities on the project area has served as a catalyst for the project and in establishing legally binding institutional arrangements and stakeholder relationships involving Moldsilva and about 300 local councils that represent the rural communities in the country.
Environmental benefits of the project includes restoration of degraded lands, prevention of soil erosion, increase in forest cover, and replenishment of carbon stocks on degraded lands, which assists with the mitigation of climate change. The project is helping to prevent landslides, improve hydrological regime, and minimize water and wind erosion. In addition, the afforested areas will act as shelter-belts and limit adverse impacts of soil erosion from degraded lands on adjoining lands. The project activities are promoting the protection of threatened species, improvements in ecological succession, and restoration of habitats of endangered flora and fauna—activities that support biodiversity.
The project is supporting local communities by improving soil productivity and increasing the supply of fuelwood, timber, and non-timber products. Local councils are actively involved in the project, through land ownership and management. The project is creating local employment, for both men and women, through planting, weeding, tending, thinning, protection, and harvesting of wood. In the medium- to long-term, the project will provide multiple products, services, and income from sale of timber and non-timber products, such as medicinal plants, and honey from beekeeping. The fuelwood supplies are helping to meet the cooking energy needs of rural and urban households, which also prevents further deforestation