Research Questions and Design
The Mongolian Rangelands and Resilience (MOR2) project aims to advance understanding of the role of community-based natural resource management institutions in building the resilience of coupled systems to climate change. Four overarching research questions frame this investigation:
- How resilient or vulnerable are Mongolian pastoral social-ecological systems to climate change?
- Does community-based rangeland management (CBRM) increase coupled systems’ resilience to climate change?
- What are the implications of temporal and spatial scales, and differing physical, ecological, and social system boundaries for understanding and managing the resilience of coupled systems?
- Can participatory system modeling and scenario planning improve within-and cross-scale learning, knowledge integration, and adaptation?
Map of study sites
- MOR2 collected ecological, social and physical data in 36 soum in central and eastern Mongolia (see map) in 2011-2013.
- 18 of the study soum are home to formal community-based rangeland management groups, and the other 18 have only traditional herder neighborhoods.
- In each soum, we studied 2-9 herder groups or neighborhoods.
- Ecological samples were collected at 3 50 x 50 m plots near one winter shelter used by each group. Plots were located 100-m, 500-m and 1000-m from the shelter to study the effects of grazing pressure on plants and soils. Data on soil characteristics, plant biomass and plant cover were collected.
- Social data collection, included interviews with soum officials and herder group leaders, focus groups with soum residents and herder group members, and surveys with 5 households in each group or neighborhood (10-45 surveys per soum), and soum-level statistics.
- In some soums, we also collected data on streamflow, herder observations of environmental change, and detailed information on movement patterns.