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Section 3: Institutional Innovations in Mongolian Rangelands

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  • ItemOpen Access
    What explains positive social outcomes of community-based rangeland management in Mongolia?
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Ulambayar, Tungalag, author; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, author; Batjav, Batbuyan, author; Baival, Batkhishig, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Community-based rangeland management (CBRM) has been proposed as a promising option to reduce rural poverty and resource degradation in Mongolia. However, results have been mixed. Studies about the factors influencing CBRM success have been limited. We explored the mechanisms underlying social outcomes of Mongolian CBRM. The study revealed that access to diverse information, leadership, knowledge exchange and rules facilitated the effect of formal organization on pastoralists' traditional and innovative rangeland practices, proactive behavior, and social networking. Importantly, information diversity had a triggering effect on the other three facilitating variables. This chain of four mediators collectively increased the effect of the formal organization on the above social outcomes. We also found that ecological zone had a moderating effect on the relationship between formal organization and members' proactive behavior and social networking.
  • ItemOpen Access
    What matters most in institutional design for community-based rangeland management in Mongolia?
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Ulambayar, Tungalag, author; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria, author; Batjav, Batbuyan, author; Baival, Batkhishig, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    This study tested the effect of institutional design principles on social outcomes of evolving pastoral institutions in post-socialist Mongolia. Using data from 77 community-based rangeland management (CBRM) groups and 392 member households, we examined the effect of donor facilitation on institutional design. We found that donor facilitation approach significantly influenced group attributes and their external environment, but not institutional arrangements. The study confirmed that small group size, homogeneous interests, and heterogeneity of well-being are important group characteristics that predict higher levels of information diversity, leadership, and income diversity. Institutional arrangements such as the presence of sanctions, group-devised rules, frequent meetings, and recording documents increased cooperation, rules, and information diversity. Similarly, access to training and local government support provided a favorable external environment for increasing social outcomes. Furthermore, group characteristics such as dependence on livestock, homogeneity of interests, and leader legitimacy were critical for increasing social capital, livelihoods, sustainable rangeland practices, and proactive behavior of members. More frequent meetings of leaders were the most influential for these outcomes. Local government support and available donor support were associated with increased trust and norms of reciprocity, sustainable rangeland management practices, proactiveness, and livestock holdings. Lastly, group attributes and external environment influenced social outcomes of pastoral CBRMs in Mongolia more than institutional arrangements.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Do formal, community-based institutions improve rangeland vegetation and soils in Mongolia more than informal, traditional institutions?
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Reid, Robin S., author; Jamsranjav, Chantsallkham, author; Fernandez-Gimenez, Maria E., author; Angerer, Jay, author; Tsevlee, Altanzul, author; Yadambaatar, Baasandorj, author; Jamiyansharav, Khishigbayar, author; Ulambayar, Tungalag, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Since the 1990's, herding communities across Mongolia have established over 2000 community-based rangeland management (CBRM) organizations to improve livestock grazing management and reverse perceived declines in rangeland (grassland) productivity. Here, we compare the vegetation and soils of rangelands managed by these formal community-based herder groups (CBRM) with those managed by informal traditional neighborhoods (non-CBRM) in four ecological zones across Mongolia. A companion study shows CBRM used both traditional and innovative rangeland management practices more often than traditional neighborhoods. We hypothesized that this should then result in better rangeland vegetation and soils in CBRM-managed than non-CBRM managed rangeland. We sampled vegetation and soils in winter pastures around 143 livestock camps or water points in soums (counties) with and without CBRM management. We explicitly controlled for grazing intensity by sampling plots along grazing gradients at 100, 500 and 1000 m from these impact points. At each 50 x 50 m plot (n=428) we sampled standing biomass, plant cover, basal gap, species richness, forage quality, and soil and site characteristics. We also compared paired time series of MODIS NDVI data in counties with and without CBRM organizations from 2000-2014 to quantify changes in length of the growing season, and current and previous season greenness (a proxy for biomass accumulation). We then analyzed all data using general linear models and χ2 tests. CBRM had surprisingly few and subtle impacts on vegetation and soils in Mongolia's rangelands, whether measured in the field or by remote sensing, compared with areas managed by more traditional neighborhood groups. Some CBRM pastures supported more litter biomass, plant connectivity and less soil erosion, and a lower abundance of grazing tolerant or annual plant species than non-CBRM pastures in some ecological zones. CBRM management appears to modestly improve vegetation condition in the steppe than other ecological zones. At the soum level, we could see no differences in the length of the growing season, current season greenness or current and previous season greenness of the vegetation over the 15 years from 2000-2014. We did find, however, that herding families that participate in CBRM groups hold more livestock, sometimes twice as many, in 3 of the 4 ecological zones. This suggests that CBRM management may be having more impact on pastures than our data show, since these pastures can support more livestock without losing rangeland vegetation abundance and soil retention capacity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Time series analysis of satellite greenness indices for assessing vegetation response to community based rangeland management
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Angerer, J. P., author; Kretzschmar, J. K., author; Chantsallkham, J., author; Jamiyansharav, K., author; Reid, R., author; Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E., author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    After the transition of Mongolia's agriculture sector to a market economy in the early 1990's, community-based rangeland management (CBRM) organizations have been established across Mongolia to cooperatively manage rangeland resources. We hypothesized that rangeland ecoregions under CBRM would have greater biomass than ecoregions managed using traditional herder practices. We used time series analysis of AVHRR (8-km resolution, 1982 to 2012) and MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (250-m, 2000 to 2013) to calculate integrated NDVI (iNDVI) as a proxy for vegetation biomass. To address whether CBRM response is scale related, we created buffers of increasing distance around livestock winter shelter locations in soums where CBRM programs had been initiated and soums without formal programs. Spatial averages of iNDVI were calculated within buffer boundaries for each location, stratified by ecological zone. A repeated measures mixed model with yearly rainfall as a covariate was used to test for differences in iNDVI for CBRM status over time for buffer distances of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 30 for MODIS, and 10 and 30 km for AVHRR. In general, results were similar across buffer distances indicating that average vegetation response was similar for distances greater than 1 km around sampling sites. For MODIS NDVI, sites in the Desert Steppe and Eastern Steppe did not have significantly higher productivity in CBRM managed soums over time, regardless of buffer size. Mountain and Forest Steppe (MFS) locations had higher iNDVI in non-CBRM sites throughout the time series for both NDVI data sets, although these differences were not statistically significant. CBRM sites in the Steppe zone had higher iNDVI throughout the time series for both MODIS and AVHRR. Given that these differences occur throughout the AVHRR time series, they do not appear to be the result of CBRM activities. Our findings indicate that differences in vegetation response as a result of CBRM activities were not detected during the time series using productivity proxies from satellite imagery. In addition, the MODIS time series may be too short for detecting CBRM differences since it does not include data prior to when most CBRM programs were implemented.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Management of dzud risk in Mongolia: mutual aid and institutional interventions
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Thrift, Eric D., author; Ichinkhorloo, Byambabaatar, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Heavy livestock losses from severe winter conditions (dzud) in Mongolia in recent years have prompted a variety of interventions by government and development agencies, aiming to reduce herders' vulnerability to severe weather and other climate factors. Unfortunately, many of these interventions have not systematically diminished risk to herders. In this paper we identify several strategies deployed by herders for managing dzud risks and impacts through informal mutual aid networks. We contrast these strategies to interventions taken by international donor agencies operating in Mongolia, which have largely focused on the household as an independent socio-economic unit. We conclude that risk mitigation can be improved through recognition of informal mutual aid networks, and through support to mutual aid institutions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Resilience, values and ecosystem services: innovations in rangeland governance
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Upton, Caroline, author; Dulmaa, D., author; Nyamaa, N., author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Mongolia's socio-ecological rangeland systems face a number of critical, contemporary challenges. Climatic change, persistent poverty and growing land use conflicts, especially around mining, pose complex problems both for herders and policy-makers. Furthermore, there is renewed emphasis on meeting Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Aichi targets, following the publication of Mongolia's 5th National CBD report in March 2014, and the development of a new National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan. (E)valuation of the contributions of rangeland ecosystem services (ES) to biodiversity and livelihoods/wellbeing are highlighted as priorities for future planning therein. ES thinking, valuation and commodification are becoming increasingly influential in other contemporary policy initiatives, not least through the development of the national REDD+ roadmap, Business and Biodiversity offset programmes and Government commitments to the ‘Green Economy'. Nonetheless critical questions remain about the ES paradigm itself, values/ valuation of ES and how these may be enacted and supported through policy. Here we report on a three year Darwin-Initiative funded project, which aimed to ‘generate policy and practice relevant knowledge of values of ecosystem services (ES) in Mongolia, and test the efficacy of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes, in order to enhance biodiversity and livelihoods'. Aims were realised through i) participatory mapping and analysis of ES, including cultural ES, with 300 herder households across four case study sites, and the development of innovative methods for non-economic valuation; ii) co-development and implementation of a novel rangeland payment for ES (PES) scheme at the four sites, through the Plan Vivo standard; iii) analysis of the impacts ES and of the PES scheme on biodiversity and livelihoods. Methods used included deliberative valuation approaches, mapping, ranking and choice modelling to examine group and individual values and trade-offs between ES across ecologically contrasting areas. We also applied the SOLVES (Social Values of ES) GIS model to highlight spatial, place-specific dimensions of ES values, as part of a series of wider biodiversity, livelihoods and ES assessments. Results highlight spatial and temporal diversities in ES values, importance of cultural ES for wellbeing, and the potential of carefully designed PES schemes to contribute to more resilient socio-ecological rangeland systems in the future.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Dzud and thresholds of 'property' in Mongolian pastoralism
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Murphy, Daniel J., author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Property and its allocation are key elements of resilience within socio-ecological systems. This presentation compares ethnographic and survey data on shifting ideas of property from 2008 to similar data gathered in 2014 in a district of southern Khentii aimag. The data illustrate how these attitudes emerged, their underlying logics, and how they articulate with broader historical and political economic conditions. The findings raise concern that dzud events could serve as a possible trigger for formal legal transformations in land rights given the increased political rhetoric and calls for land privatization following dzud events. This paper argues that crossing such property thresholds would pose considerable problems for both rangelands and livelihoods and suggests some future avenues for strengthening pastoral systems.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Contemporary mobility of herders in central Mongolia
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Jargalsaikhan, Azjargal, author; Batjav, Batbuyan, author; Baival, Batkhishig, author; Ulambayar, Tungalag, author; Lhagvasuren, Tamir, author; Tsogtbaatar, Solongoo, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Social-ecological changes occurring in recent years have complicated herders' migration patterns, and because of rangeland climate variability, nomadic movement patterns have changed. The aim of this study was to determine how the present movement patterns of herders situated in different steppe regions along the road infrastructure corridor of central Mongolia have been affected by the intensification of community-based natural resource management activities and household livelihood levels, and to identify how herders adapt to those changes in their movement practices. The number and distance of herders' movements increased between 2010 and 2011, depending on regional geographical location and community-based natural resource management activities. In particular, household income and the number of livestock herders owned determined how far they moved. In the period 2010-2011 in central Mongolia there was a trend of movement from the western aimags to the forest steppe and from the desert steppe to the steppe and forest steppe, across administrative borders. Herders have a variety of ways to cope with social-ecological change which demonstrates the basic need for developing location-specific policies when establishing movement regulations and implementing risk reduction measures.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Evolution of common resource tenure and governing: evidence from pastureland in Mongolia Plateau
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Zhang, Yaoqi, author; Amarjargal, Amartuvshin, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    Land tenure is to define who hold the land as well as the relationship between tenant and the lord. Most fundamentally tenure and changing tenure is capturing the value of the resource. The nature of the resource and changing relative scarcity are essential to induce or lead evolution of land tenure. Pasture resources have been held in open access and communal tenure for much of the long history on Mongolia Plateau because of the abundant resource with low population density. Historically pasture tenure in this region has been evolving from open and semi-open access to communal tenure (control) to more private ownership, although other forces like political system can only cause temporary departure from the general patterns. Presently the variety of tenure arrangements largely reflects the scarcity of the pastoral resources: Mongolia is still primarily adopting semi-open access with community governing although state is viewed as sole ownership, while Inner Mongolia is more directing privatization of at least the use rights.
  • ItemOpen Access
    To fence or not to fence? Perceptions and attitudes of herders in Inner Mongolia
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015-06) Xu, Yecheng, author; Zhang, Yaoqi, author; Gao, Liping, author; Qiao, Guanghua, author; Chen, Jiquan, author; Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher
    The most important part of recent grassland tenure reforms in Inner Mongolia has been to divide the collective grassland to household level, then fence and enclose grassland. Fencing is a form of strongest signal of private property right and aims to exclude over-boundary grazing, attempting to solve "tragedy of the commons" from open access. Fencing gives herders a "user right", though ownership still resides at a village level. But fencing significantly limit animal and herdsmen mobility critical to the pastoral society and coupled natural and human systems. The "dilemma of enclosure" has become a key debated issue of grassland management. Positive and negative effects have been widely discussed, but few empirical studies have been conducted into this dilemma. Ecologists in general believe fencing would negatively affect the integrated ecosystem and seasonal rotation of herding. In contrast, economists think the fence would avoid the "tragedy of the commons" and create an incentive to protect herders own resources. Economists also understand that fencing would reduce the scale of economy and fencing itself is costly. After reviewing current fencing policies and the scale of the fencing activities in Inner Mongolia, we surveyed the effects of existing fencing policies and their impact on herdsman households to evaluate herders' attitudes and perceptions towards fencing.