“These hills used to be covered with trees in Soviet times,” says Umedjon Baburforov, gesturing to the bare slopes around his village of Yanchob, near Dushanbe. “Now there are none.”
In the mountains of Tajikistan, summer is the season for collecting wood. Come winter, when many settlements throughout the country receive less than four hours of electricity per day from the state’s power grid, a wood stove becomes the main source of heating for many families. “We have to go further and further each year to find wood. We are planting more trees but they take a long time to grow,” explains Baburforov, 76.
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