Making Grasslands Sustainable in Mongolia: Adapting to Climate and Environmental Change

Publication | February 2014

This publication reviews grassland management and traditional nomadic pastoralism in the local Mongolian context, and identifies potential adaptation strategies and practices, such as rotation and resting of pasture, long-distance migration of animals in fall and/or winter, and reduction of livestock stocking rates.

Climate change threatens grassland ecosystems and herders' livelihoods in Mongolia. Herders depend on pasture and water resources for their livestock, and are thus among the most vulnerable groups to climate change impacts. However, although climate change impacts on grassland ecosystems are measurable, current institutional capacity and financial resources limit implementation of adaptation practices.

This publication reviews grassland management and traditional nomadic pastoralism in the local Mongolian context, and identifies potential adaptation strategies and practices, such as rotation and resting of pasture, long-distance migration of animals in fall and/or winter, and reduction of livestock stocking rates.

This publication aims to

  • explain how good pasture management and livestock productivity are important for combating and adapting to climate change;
  • provide information on adaptation practices, including those that have been prioritized by the Government of Mongolia and promoted under the government's Mongolian Livestock Program; and
  • evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of potential adaptation practices.

Findings

The loss of mobility as a grassland management strategy and the weakening of institutions for the management of pastoral resources are still a key issue more than two decades after the transition to a market economy. The government has already identified many of the threats, and is taking a proactive approach to tackling them. Implementation of the country's national livestock program and new land use legislation will address many of the existing and potential issues.

Planned increases in financing from central government will enhance opportunities for cofinancing adaptation measures in pasture and livestock management from climate finance. The government is exploring opportunities through the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, and potential carbon markets in grasslands.

The adaptation actions and practices suggested here are only a modest beginning. The government and stakeholders are urged to review the appendixes and modify them, as needed, for their strategies and plans.