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Watersheds and Forestry

"The country’s limited forest resources suffered depletion to meet demands from lucrative export markets and for firewood. Severe overgrazing and the recent drought have contributed to the decline of the livestock population, and reduction in ground cover in hillsides has led to floods, widespread soil erosion, and reduced water retention in aquifers." (from World Bank Report)Afghanistan watershed



Priorities and Opportunities

  • Upper watershed (mountains and non-irrigated plateaus) 
    • Priority problems include rill and gully (water) erosion, wind erosion, poor grazing practices, root excavation, excessive tree and brush removal.
    • Priority opportunities include control grazing, terracing, loose stone check dams (See FAO Watershed Management Manual - Gully Control); improved and increased fodder production in irrigated areas; nursery improvement for range rehabilitation.
  • Streambank erosion due to flooding 
    • Priority problems include loss of agricultural land base, destruction of infrastructure (bridges, buildings and dams)
    • Priority opportunities include check dams, gabion baskets (picture at right), retaining walls
  • Deforestation
    • Priority problems include heavy demand for firewood as primary fuel source and grazing pressure from livestock
    • Priority opportunities include alternative fuel sources (particularly gas and mini-hydropower using local waterways), public awareness, protecting young trees from animals to permit natural regrowth, pistachio forests
These priorities and opportunities are based on feedback from John Groninger (SIU) and Ahmad Zia Mirzada (MAIL).
Gabion basket Pix by SWSF
Gabion basket Pix by SWSF


    • Principles of Effective Reforestation PPT as PDF (1.2 MB) (USDA)
    • Challenges to Grazing Land Info sheet (UC Davis, SIU)
    • Introduction to Grazing Management PPT as PDF (5.3 MB) (USDA)
    • Introduction to Forests of Afghanistan PPT as PDF (USDA)
    • Soil Erosion Info Sheet (NRCS)
    • Forest Law PPT as PDF English (1.2 MB) Dari (1.2 MB) (USDA)
    • Water Law Terms and Key Points Info Sheet
    • Water Filtration and Disinfection PPT as PDF  (4.9 MB) (USDA)

Options for Resource Conservation

    • Soil and Water Conservation PPT as PDF Series (USDA)
      • Watershed Conservation Management and Rehabilitation PPT as PDF

Planning Watershed Management

    • Regional Aerial View
    • Watershed Surveying and Management Manual (FAO) and Surveying Guide PPT as PDF (USDA)
    • Understanding Micro Watersheds PPT as PDF Series (USDA)
    • Planning for Use of Trees
      • Framework for Reforestation
      • Tree Plantations and Reforestation for New Year PPT as PDF Dari (1.7 MB) (MAIL)
      • Planning and Forest Management PPT as PDF English (7.4 MB) Dari (9.5 MB) (USDA)
      • Community-Based Forest Management Province Example PPT as PDF (USDA Conference)
    • Pistachios as Productive Woodlands
      • Pistachio Woodlands PPT as PDF (4.1 MB) (USDA)
      • Community-Based Pistachio Forest Management PPT as PDF (1.8 MB) (USDA)
    • Measuring Results PPT as PDF (USDA)

Using Trees for Management

  • Establishing Trees
      • What to Know Before Planting Trees in Afghanistan PPT as PDF (2 MB) (UNOPS)
      • Simple Methods for Raising Seedlings English (8.4 MB) Dari (3.6 MB) (USAID and USDA)
    • Nursery Management PPT as PDF Series (USDA)
      • Bareroot Seedling English (2 MB) and Dari (2.4 MB)
      • Greenhouses and Shadehouses  English and Dari (1.8 MB)
      • Grafting and Budding English and Dari (1.2 MB)
      • Soil Moisture English (1.2 MB) and Dari (1.5 MB)
      • Spring Sapling Harvest English (1.6MB) and Dari (1.5MB)
      • Spring Sapling Planting English (2.6 MB) and Dari (2.7 MB)
      • Spring Sapling Sowing and Propagation English (2.2 MB) and Dari (2.3 MB)
      • Water Collection and Delivery English (1.3 MB)
  • Fodder Tree Options Info Sheet (UC Davis from FAO) 
  • Riparian Buffers Info Sheet (GPFA)
  • Soil Testing Kit PPT as PDF English (6.5 MB) and Dari (6.8 MB) (USDA)
  • Seed Collection PPT as PDF (1.0 MB) (USDA)

Using Physical Structures for Management

  • Equipment
    • Build and Use an A-frame Level for Terrace Surveying icon video Video
    • How to Build and Use a Water Level for Terrace Surveying icon video Video
  • Managing River Flow
  • Manage Erosion on Slopes

Flood Risk Maps

Maps detailing potential flood risks nationally and in select provinces, created by iMMAP

Province Watershed Studies

A limited number or studies are available; they are uploaded here as they become available.