Mongolian Rangelands and Resilience (MOR2)

Mongolian Rangelands & Resilience Project

Mongolia’s grasslands cover 75% of its land area, and support globally important wildlife populations as well as a vibrant nomadic culture whose herds depend on the steppe for their sustenance. The average annual temperature in Mongolia has risen by 2.1℃ over the past 60 years, one of the steepest increases on earth. Since the transition to a democracy and market economy in 1992, poverty in rural areas has grown from zero to over 35% of the population. As a result, herding families are increasingly vulnerable to severe climate disasters, such as the winters of 1999-2002 and 2009-2010, as well as volatility in world markets. At the same time, the number of livestock grazing Mongolia’s steppes has increased, leading to concern for the future sustainability of the steppes and the people and animals that depend on them.


To address these concerns, over 2000 herder groups have organized since 1999 to help empower and educate herders to manage their lands and herds more sustainably. This movement, called community-based rangeland management, is unprecedented in the world and offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the out-comes of grassroots collective action, and put this knowledge to work designing better policies and practices.

1. Assess the vulnerability of Mongolian pastoral systems to climate change.
2. Evaluate the effects of community-based range-land management on the resilience of Mongolian pastoral systems.
3. Strengthen linkages between natural resource science and policy-making in Mongolia.
4. Build the capacity of Mongolian and US scientists and students to analyze the dynamics of complex natural-human systems.