Revitalizing pastoralists traditional and collective rangeland-management practices in Mongolia
Combination of tradition and contemporary knowledge lends a solution to Mongolian nomadic herders
Conflict over state-owned pastureland and privately owned livestock has been a problem for Mongolia’s rangeland management sector. The revitalization of pastoralists traditional and collective rangeland-management practices is addressing this challenge.
Traditional rotational grazing schemes are widely ignored, fueled by the absence of Mongolian state regulations and growing herd numbers resulting from the privatization of former cooperatives. This development comes along with a great environmental impact. According to a recent rangeland health assessment report 65 percent of Mongolian rangelands have been degraded.
In order to restore traditional rangeland management practices and grazing boundaries, communities assessed ways to mutually reach acceptable agreements. When grazing boundaries were agreed upon, pastoralist got encouraged to form groups and become more organized, interact regularly and tackle the problems that occur. Small projects financed selected actions with an established community fund, once matching funds from pastoralist households were pledged.
The rangeland-use agreements contribute to the revitalization of traditional rotational grazing practices. In the past six years 3.4 million ha of rangeland have been restored, about 500 rangeland groups had entered into rangeland-use agreements with local governments. Increases in productivity could reduce animal numbers by 5-8 % over 5-10 years, providing at the same time stable household incomes.
Rangeland-use agreements have become a platform upon which herder families and local governments are able to discuss and agree upon mutual responsibilities aimed at improving rangeland health.
Rangeland-use agreements are well suited as a legal means with which to ensure herders’ user rights to traditional pastureland.Enkh-Amgalan Tseelei