Is rangeland health relevant to Mongolia?

TitleIs rangeland health relevant to Mongolia?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsDamdinsuren G., Herrick JE, Pyke D.A., Bestelmeyer BT, Havstad K
Date PublishedAugust 2008
Accession NumberJRN00503
ARIS Log Number228908
Keywordsjournal article, Mongolia, overgrazing, rangeland health

Approximately 800,000 of Mongolia’s 2.5 million people depend directly on livestock production and rangelands for their livelihood. Overgrazing is widespread in the western provinces and near the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, while forage is often underutilized in eastern parts of the country. The rangeland health concept is based on the assumption that the sustainability of all environmental services, including livestock forage production, depend on limiting soil erosion and degradation, effectively capturing, storing and releasing water, and on maintaining productive, resilient biological communities. To be relevant to Mongolian herders and policymakers, rangeland health must be integrated into a management framework that explicitly includes maximizing long-term forage production as a primary objective. This article presents a 4-step management framework that shows how rangeland health assessments and monitoring might be applied in developing countries like Mongolia, where optimizing long-term forage production is the primary management objective. These preliminary attempts to adapt and apply the rangeland health concept, and specifically the IIRH protocol to Mongolia, suggest that additional work is needed in three areas: 1) developing more explicit links between the rangeland health attributes and specific land uses and values, including forage production; 2) anticipating new threats, such as invasive species, which may influence rangeland sustainability; and 3) increasing our understanding of how resilience varies throughout the country.