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Linking Spatial and Temporal Modeling: A Case Study from the Eastern Pamir, TJ

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Geoinformatics, Volume 15, Issue 4, p.29-41 (2019)


<p>The Eastern Pamir of Tajikistan is a remote high mountain region located in the east of Tajikistan. Today, a great share of the Eastern Pamir&rsquo;s local energy demand is satisfied by dwarf shrubs (Krascheninnikovia ceratoides and Artemisia spp.) and animal manure. Besides of their energetic potential, dwarf shrubs are an important nutrient source for local livestock. It is assumed that overuse of local dwarf shrub stands leads to a degradation of pastures. With decreasing pasture quality, potentially, less livestock can be kept by locals. Besides of the economic losses associated with a decrease in livestock numbers, yields of manure also decline. In order to compensate the missing manure yields, locals may harvest even more dwarf shrubs. Thus, potentially a self-reinforcing functional chain exists in this system. BRECKLE AND WUCHERER (2006) refer to the degradation of pasturelands due to excessive dwarf shrub harvest in the Pamir Mountains as teresken syndrome. In a field study, we identified typical current energy carrier usage patterns in the village of Alichur, the second largest settlement in the Eastern Pamir. We then used a System Dynamics and Geographical Information Systems combining hybrid approach to analyze the energy system of Alichur and we modeled two scenarios of the system: one pessimistic in terms of dwarf shrub growth and one optimistic. Both scenarios show that in the short to medium term a collapse of the energy system of Alichur is unlikely to happen. The optimistic scenario indicates that resource consumption currently is sustainable in terms of pasture quality and dwarf shrub balance. The assumed self-reinforcing functional chain could not be confirmed. After all, the model provides strong indications that the teresken syndrome does not apply for Alichur. In addition to these findings, the case study shows, that combining SD and GIS in one model, allows for a conceptual understanding of the modeled system (mainly SD part), mass-balance simulations (SD and GIS parts) and visualization of model results (GIS part). Thereby, in addition to the case study results, this work demonstrates that System Dynamics and Geographical Information Systems combining hybrid approaches are a powerful tool for case study analysis, model simulation and result presentation. The approach is able to clarify structural assumption on the regional Social-Ecological-System and to support management decision.</p>