Results and Publications

Preliminary Results

Results from our study of 36 soums in four ecological regions of Mongolia show consistent differences between herder households that belong to formally organized community-based management (CBRM) groups and those who do not in management and social indicators.
For example:
  • CBRM households are better prepared for severe winter weather than non-CBRM households because they are more likely to prepare hay and fodder in advance and take other preparatory measures.
  • CBRM households implement more innovative livestock and pasture management practices, such as breed improvement, culling unproductive livestock, working to restore degraded pastures, repair or develop wells, and monitor ecological conditions.
  • CBRM households have access to more sources of information about livestock, pasture, and disaster management and have stronger networks for exchanging information with other herders and experts about these topics.
  • CBRM households are more proactive in communicating with local government and are more likely to join with others in their community to solve local problems.
In some regions, such as the Gobi desert-steppe, our preliminary ecological data show that winter pastures managed by formally organized groups have greater grass and total vegetation cover and biomass than those managed by traditional groups.

In-depth studies of four soums in the Gobi and mountain-steppe zones before and after the 2009-2010 dzud showed that fall otor and reserving spring pastures reduced household losses to dzud. This research also showed that CBRM soums were better prepared for and less affected by dzud impacts. However, CBRM soums experienced major losses when livestock from other soum grazed their pastures during the dzud, creating a hoofed dzud.

Thus, formally organized herder groups can enhance the adaptive capacity of households and communities, but clear multi-scale policies are needed to coordinate herder otor movements during dzud to limit vulnerability to severe winter weather disasters.

Fernández-Giménez, M.E., N.H. Venable, J.P. Angerer, S.R. Fassnacht, R.S. Reid, and Kh. Jamyansharav. 2017. Exploring linked ecological and cultural tipping points in Mongolia. Anthropocene 17: 46-69. Available at:

Niah B. H. Venable. 2017. Hydroclimatological Data and Analyses from a Headwaters Region of Mongolia as
Boundary Objects in Interdisciplinary Climate Change Research. Frontiers of Earth Science. Special Issue.

Allegretti, Arren Mendezona 2015. Reflections from the field: Voice in cross-cultural and transdisciplinary research. The applied anthropologist 35(2):11-16.

Tungalag Ulambayar, Maria E. Fernandez-Gimenez, Batkhishig Baival, & Batbuyan Batjav. 2016. Social Outcomes of Community-based Rangeland Management in Mongolian Steppe Ecosystems. Conservation Letters, 00(0), 1-11. doi: 10.1111/conl.12267

Allegretti, A. M., Thompson, J, & Laituri, M. 2015. Engagement and accountability in transdisciplinary space in Mongolia: principles for facilitating a reflective adaptive process in complex teams. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 11(2):23-43.

Jamiyansharav Khishigbayar, M. Fernandez-Gimenez, Jay P. Angerer, R.S. Reid, J. Chantsallkham, Ya. Baasandorj, and D. Zumberelmaa, 2015. Mongolian Rangelands at a Tipping Point? Biomass and Cover are Stable but Composition Shifts and Richness Declines after 20 Years of Grazing and Increasing Temperatures. Journal of Arid Environments 115 (2015), 100-112. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2015.01.007

Fernandez-Gimenez, M.E., B. Batkhishig, B. Batbuyan and T. Ulambayar. 2014. Lessons from the dzud: Community-based rangeland management increases adaptive capacity of Mongolian herders to winter disasters. World Development68:48-65. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.11.015.

Reid, R.S., M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez, K.A. Galvin. 2014. Dynamics and resilience of rangelands and pastoral peoples around the globe. Annual Review of Environment and Natural Resources 39: 217-242.

Bruegger, R.A., O. Jigjsuren, and M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez. 2014. Herder observations of rangeland change in Mongolia: Indicators, causes and application to community-based management. Rangeland Ecology and Management 67(2):119-131.

Ulambayar, T. and M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez. 2013. Following the footsteps of the Mongol queens: Why Mongolian pastoral women should be empowered. Rangelands 35(6):29-35.

Coppock, D.L., M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez and J. Harvey. 2013. Women as change agents in the world’s rangelands: Synthesis and way forward. Rangelands 35(6):36-40.

Fassnacht, S.R., N.B.H. Venable, J. Khishigbayar, and M.L. Cherry, 2013. The Probability of Precipitation as Snow Derived from Daily Air Temperature for High Elevation Areas of Colorado, United States. Cold and Mountain Region Hydrological Systems Under Climate Change: Towards Improved Projections(Proceedings of symposium H02, IAHS-IAPSO-IASPEI Assembly, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2013) IAHS, 360, 65-70.
Khishigbayar J.,  B. Batkhishig, Ya. Jargal, D. Pagmajav, N. Batsaikhan, G. Damba. 2013. My Homeland’s People, Nature and Climate. Interpress printing. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, p. 160.
Baival, B. and M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez. 2012. Meaningful learning for resilience-building among Mongolian pastoralists. Nomadic Peoples 16(2):53-77. DOI:
Fernandez-Gimenez, M.E., B. Batkhishig and B. Batbuyan. 2012. Cross-boundary and cross-level dynamics increase vulnerability to severe winter storms (dzud) in Mongolia. Global Environmental Change 22: 836-851 DOI:

Venable, N.B.H., S.R. Fassnacht, G. Adyabadam, Tumenjargal S., M. Fernandez-Gimenez, B. Batbuyan. 2012. Does length of station record influence the warming trend that is perceived by Mongolian herders near the Khangai Mountains? Pirineos 167:71-88. doi:10.3989/Pirineos.2012.167004

Fassnacht, S.R., T. Sukh, M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez, B. Batbuyan, N.B.H. Venable, M. Laituri, G. Adyabadam. 2011. Local understanding of hydro-climatic changes in Mongolia. Pp. 120-129 in: Cold Region Climatology in a Changing World, Proceedings of Symposium H02 held during IUGG2011 in Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. IAHS Publication 364, 2011.

Fernandez-Gimenez, M.E., X. Wang, B. Batkhishig, J. Klein and R.S. Reid, editors. 2011. Restoring community connections to the land: Building resilience through community-based rangeland management in China and Mongolia. Wallingford, UK: CABI.