GIS and Remote Sensing Technology for improved pasture management

GIZ Azerbaijan
Published: 01 June 2023
Last edited: 01 June 2023
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The Monitoring Manual for Summer and Winter Pastures (Etzold & Neudert 2013; Etzold et al. 2015) in the Greater Caucasus introduces a simple practical pasture assessment and monitoring tool for resource managers. Combined with basic socio-economic information (number of livestock, herding organization, grazing management) comprehensive recommendations for sustainable pasture management can be derived to maintain and enhance the condition of pastures in the future. The approach can be adapted to various ecological and socio-economic settings and was applied in all three South Caucasian countries, e.g. AM (Sisian, Gorayk), AZ (Ismayilli, Saatli, Gakh), GE (PA of Borjomi-Kharagauli, Lagodekhi, Tusheti and Vashlovani). Initially developed as a simple physical assessment approach a combination with remote sensing and GIS technology improves the overall assessment, in particular through more accurate data and assessment opportunities.


East Europe
North and Central Asia
West Asia, Middle East
Scale of implementation
Grassland ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Tundra or montane grassland
Disaster risk reduction
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Food security
Land management
Local actors
Not listed
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Traditional knowledge
Watershed management
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Lack of food security


Ismayilli, Azerbaijan | Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
Syunik, Armenia
Akhmeta, Kakheti, Georgia


  • Sectoral silos: responsibilities and mandate for management of pastures and grasslands not clearly defined – distributed among various sectors and ministries
  • Degradation of grasslands and pastures through inadequate use (under- and overuse) - this causes decreases in productivity (fodder production) as well as loss of biodiversity
  • Competing land use, lack of information and reliable data on land use
    • Different ministries, private people, and companies are competing the same land resources. As pastures often are not entirely monitored by only one ministry, the lack of information is either/ or an advantage for the one ministry and a disadvantage for the other. Establishing a pasture platform under which all pastures will be monitored could guarantee a better pasture management, more sustainable land
  • Pasture lease often only on short-term base which hinders long-time management practices
  • Access to up-to-date data on pasture areas missing, e.g. boundaries/ cadastral information, biomass, livestock 


  • Local communities and pastoralists documenting their livestock
    •  AZ: 700 shepherds 300.000 sheep
    • GE: 66 shepherds 62.000 sheep, 4.200 cattle, 700 horses
  • Community / local administration at PA level
  • Decision-makers at national level (e.g. sector policies)

How do the building blocks interact?

  1. Joint and cross-sectoral identification of data, information and mapping needs 

  1. Mapping of pastures and grasslands including biomass, quality and carrying capacity  

  1. Joint definition of different roles and responsibilities of partners (communities, ministries, etc.) involved in management and monitoring of pastures.. at regional and national level 

  1. Setting priorities on the way forward and monitoring  


The approach can be used by different people, all with a different intent: management authorities and NGOs for natural resource management, state of the art surveys re. natural condition, decision making and strategies; pasture owners/ leaseholders for pasture management; communities/ municipalities for pasture conditions and knowledge management. In general GIS and Remote Sensing Technology for improved pasture management...


- Provide a convenient basis for detailed monitoring of pastures by the relevant management authorities

- Awareness and knowledge on sustainable pasture management have been improved among communities and public administration of partner regions 

- Strategies and national policy are jointly developed and enriched by experienciees gained at the local level

- The combination of both approaches enables the usage for well-defined, smaller areas, such as traditional use zones of national parks with clear pasture boundaries, village pastures or protected landscapes as well as larger scale pastures for entire municipalities 
 - In the three countries of the South Caucasus, environmental data on over 11800 km² of pastureland has been developed as a basis for sustainable management practices 

Contributed by

stephan.kroel_41693's picture

Stephan Kroel Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Other contributors

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH