The Mongolian Ecosystem Network is an academic publication that covers many dimensions of the current ecological challenges in Mongolia. In 2010 the Kyoto based Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) held a conference "The Collapse and Restoration of the Mongolian Ecosystem Network in the Context of Global Environmental and Social Changes". Speakers from different acadamic fields gave an overview of the wide range of environmental issues that Mongolia is facing. Now these views have been combined and enriched into a publication that is an essential read for anybody dealing with the environment in Mongolia.
This volume looks into the future to see the effects of climate change on the vegetation of the steppes and explores the consequences of intensified urbanity. But it doesn´t limit itself to the ecological factor . Part 3 explores how socioecomic activies continuly reframe the environmental issues. One of the most striking examples is how the global demand for cashmere sweaters is changing the decision strategies for Mongolian herders. They base the composition of their herds on assumptions regarding cashmere demand and often are not able to take responsibility for the ecological consequenses of these decisions.
The aim of this book is to describe what is currently occurring in the Mongolian grasslands, to analyze how various factors creating environmental problems interact, and to suggest solutions for sustainable management of the grasslands. The book has three parts. Part I is an introduction, explaining the key concept of an ecosystem network and providing background information on the general features of Mongolian nomadic pastoralism as well as distribution of vegetation in Mongolian grasslands. Part II describes the effects of natural environmental factors and nomadic activities on grassland conditions. Water dynamics that maintain the grassland system are analyzed in a steppe region with shrubs and in a forest-steppe region with trees. Part III describes the effects of economic and social factors on land-use and the livelihood of herders. As nomadic people moved closer to large cities for economic advantage in the 1990s, degradation of pastures by overgrazing resulted. Finally, the impacts of global warming and globalization on the Mongolian society and ecosystem are examined. This book analyzes environmental problems in Mongolian grasslands, but the contents contribute to consideration of environmental problems and sustainable pasture use in grassland areas worldwide.