Effects of climate change put Mongolian herders at risk, new research shows

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Mongolian livestock herders will be at greater risk of severe weather conditions if issues are not addressed urgently. (Photo courtesy of Nomad Tales under a Creative Commons license)

In my last blog post, I wrote about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recent visit to Mongolia, in which he discussed the country’s vulnerability to climate change. Around the time of his visit, the World Bank issued a press release with preliminary results from a study, released under our Netherlands-Mongolia Trust Fund for Environment Reform, otherwise known as NEMO (nothing to do with Disney’s cute fish). One wouldn’t normally go public on something unfinished but, encouraged by our erstwhile Director for China and Mongolia, David Dollar we felt that even the preliminary results were important and worth sharing.

We found that Mongolian livestock herders will be at greater risk of severe weather conditions if the growing livestock populations and deteriorating rangeland are not addressed urgently. Similar statements have been made in the past, but the new results from the field appear to be the first quantitative evidence from long-term monitoring plots. The NEMO work measured the vegetation in multiple plots set up by the Asian Development Bank in 1998 but not revisited until now. So far the plots in the Forest-Steppe region of Zavkhan aimag (province) and in the Desert of Gobi Altai aimag have been re-measured and in both areas the researchers had found a disturbing decline in rangeland quality.


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