'Once specialists from Bukhara came to us and gathered everyone at the school. They played us a cassette and explained how you could deal with the sand. No one in the whole neighbourhood but me took any interest in planting saxaul (haloxylon)', says Nomoz-aka.
Nomoz-aka was inspired by the idea to restore the forest. A local executive allowed him to use his land. The SGP GEF allocated money for the purchase of seedlings, and ... nothing happened. In the first year, saxaul seedlings did not take root.
'I started planting the saplings and everything was dry. At first, I did not know how to plant them properly. I did not know the roots had to be covered with clay. Then I realised my mistakes and started doing everything from scratch,' says Nomoz-aka.
The failure did not stop the 'conqueror of the desert'. In 2010, he began planting saxaul and other desert tree species again and within three years, he planted about 15 thousand seedlings with his own hands.
Now the forest covers an impressive area of more than 50 hectares. This is the size of 35 football fields or three Mustakillik squares in the centre of Tashkent. You will need a car to travel across the forest as it is simply too vast to walk. Saxaul trees are high, sometimes much higher than humans. Bushes bloom around them, there is some grass while rodents and reptiles already dig their burrows. This is a real forest but still very young. It is only eight years old.