Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397126

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Implementing a resilience-based management system in Mongolia's rangelands

Author
item DASHBAL, BURMA - National University Of Mongolia
item Bestelmeyer, Brandon
item DENSAMBUU, BULGAMAA - National University Of Mongolia
item ULAMBAYAR, BUDBAATAR - National University Of Mongolia
item SAINNEMEKH, SUMJIDMAA - National University Of Mongolia
item Van Zee, Justin
item Williamson, Jebediah - Jeb
item BATTUR, ANKHTSETSEG - National University Of Mongolia
item TSEELIE, ENKH-AMGALAN - National University Of Mongolia

Submitted to: Ecosphere
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2023
Publication Date: 10/11/2023
Citation: Dashbal, B., Bestelmeyer, B.T., Densambuu, B., Ulambayar, B., Sainnemekh, S., Van Zee, J.W., Williamson, J.C., Battur, A., Tseelie, E. 2023. Implementing a resilience-based management system in Mongolia's rangelands. Ecosphere. 14 (10), Article e4665. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.4665.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.4665

Interpretive Summary: Rangeland livelihoods in Mongolia, and worldwide, are threatened by climate change, increasingly limited rangeland forage and water resources, and land use transitions to more intensive uses. A primary challenge in advancing sustainability goals in rangelands is the lack of rangeland governance systems that are linked to information about highly variable rangeland resources. Here, we describe the national-scale implementation of a resilience-based management system in rangelands of Mongolia. The system comprises several elements. Land type-specific information about rangeland conditions was captured in vegetation state-and-transition models that provide a basis to interpret monitoring data and recommendations for sustaining or improving rangeland conditions. Rangeland monitoring systems based on standardized protocols were developed and have been adopted by national government agencies, which provide annual, high-quality data on rangeland conditions on which to base and adjust management decisions. Rangeland use agreements between local governments and herders’ collective organizations called Pasture Users Groups define their respective rights and responsibilities and introduce economic and policy incentives for management changes. Pasture Users Groups also provide a platform for information sharing and collective action. Rangeland condition data and other indicators are linked to the Responsible Nomads product traceability system that provides consumers and industry a means to associate products with sustainable rangeland management practices in Mongolia. The collaboration of national agencies, international donors, scientists, and herders has been essential to initial success, but longer-term monitoring will be needed to assess whether adoption of resilience-based management leads to positive social and ecological outcomes.

Technical Abstract: A primary challenge in advancing sustainability in rangelands and drylands is the lack of governance systems that are linked to information about highly variable ecosystem conditions. Here, we describe the national-scale implementation of a resilience-based management system in the rangelands of Mongolia. The system comprises several interacting elements. Land type-specific information about rangeland conditions was captured in vegetation state-and-transition models (STMs) that allow interpretation of monitoring data and locally tailored restoration recommendations. Rangeland monitoring systems based on standardized protocols were developed and have been adopted by national government agencies, which provide annual, high-quality data on rangeland conditions on which to base and adjust management decisions. Rangeland use agreements between local governments and herders' collective organizations, called Pasture Users' Groups, define their respective rights and responsibilities and introduce economic and policy incentives for management changes. Pasture Users' Groups also provide a platform for information sharing and collective action. Rangeland condition data and other indicators are linked to the Responsible Nomads product traceability system that provides consumers and industry a means to associate products with sustainable rangeland management practices. The collaboration between national agencies, international donors, scientists, and herders has been essential to initial success, but longer term support and monitoring will be needed to assess whether the adoption of resilience-based management leads to positive social and ecological outcomes. We draw generalizations and lessons learned from this effort, which can lead to the successful implementation of new management systems across global rangelands.