Pastoralism and Protected Area Management in Mongolia's Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park

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Abstract

The Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park was established in south central Mongolia in 1993 and is used by over 1100 families with pastoralism as their main means of livelihood. Research conducted in 1998–2000 to analyse grazing management problems identified a number of issues and concerns, including a significant increase in the number of herders and the size of the herd; variations in herd size reflecting differences in wealth; problems with marketing of livestock or livestock products; declining stock movements because of transportation costs and loss of water sources; and significant competition and conflicts for grazing areas. The socio-economic problems associated with Mongolia's transition to a market system, coupled with the expansion of protected areas, mean that herders have to adapt to both the current economic system and changes in land use. Although some aspects of the development of the park can be seen as a positive influence on maintaining pastoral livelihoods in this area, the national goal of protecting 30 per cent of the country, doubling the area of Mongolia currently under protected area status, could have negative effects on pastoral livelihoods, unless ministry officials, protected area administrators and pastoralists can work effectively to solve resource problems.

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