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Modeling system dynamics in rangelands of the Mongolian Plateau




Allington, Ginger R. H., author
Li, Wei, author
Brown, Daniel G., author
Nutag Action and Research Institute, publisher

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The rangelands of the Mongolian Plateau are dynamic social-ecological systems that are influenced by a complex network of drivers, including climate, social institutions, market forces and broad scale policies affecting land tenure. These factors are linked via feedbacks and often exhibit non-linear relationships. The sustainability and resilience of rangelands in this region are dependent on the ability of residents and policy makers to respond to changes and uncertainties regarding climate, socio-economic conditions, and land use. However, the complex nature of these systems makes it difficult to predict how changes in one aspect of the system will affect the functioning of other areas. We developed a system dynamics model to understand how the human, natural, and land-use systems in one part of the Mongolian rangeland ecosystem interact to produce dynamic outcomes in both grassland productivity and livestock population dynamics. An important contribution of this integrative model is to serve as a structure for synthesizing disparate data and models generated in several previous studies. It also provides a baseline for exploring future uncertainties and system dynamics in ways that can then be communicated back to stakeholders in the region. We present results from the model simulations of how ecosystem function and socioeconomic outcomes might change under alternative plausible climate, socioeconomic, and land use futures.


Includes bibliographical references.
Presented at the Building resilience of Mongolian rangelands: a trans-disciplinary research conference held on June 9-10, 2015 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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