The future of Mongolian nomadic lifestyle under debate

October 22, 2012

Geographers from the University of Leicester are involved in research on pastoralism, environment and livelihoods at a critical juncture in decision making over the future of Mongolia's rural areas.

The two year study, Community, Place and Pastoralism: Nature and Society in Post-Soviet Central Asia, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and involving work in both Mongolia and Kazakhstan, led to a meeting in Ulaanbaatar in September 2012, organised by the University of Leicester team and their Mongolian colleagues. At this meeting herders were able to discuss key land and livelihood issues directly with ministers, donors and government advisors.

Dr Upton, the Principal Investigator for the project, said: "Mongolian herders are facing multiple pressures on their livelihoods, traditionally based on nomadic pastoralism, from climate change, mining, desertification and new policies on land. Through our project, national decision makers were brought together with affected parties and local stakeholders to debate some of the vital issues pertaining to nomadic culture, livelihoods and identity in modern Mongolia. They were also able to draw lessons from the Kazakh context, based on our project results."

Dr Moore, the project Research Associate, who spent 5 months conducting fieldwork in Mongolia, said: "The herders that I met were deeply aware of climatic and environmental change in their pastures that are affecting their lifestyle. They often have to move further and more often to find good grazing for their goats, sheep, horses and camels. Therefore many are concerned that any moves towards privatisation of pasture will reduce their ability to maintain their livelihoods and nomadic culture."

In recent years, Mongolian herders have been encouraged through government policy and donor interventions to form herder groups. These groups are designed to collaborate in pasture management, labour sharing and environmental conservation, as well as marketing of their livestock products, thus improving local livelihoods and resilience.

A long-debated draft pastureland law, to be considered by the new Mongolian government in the next session of parliament, seeks to strengthen rights to key seasonal pastures for families and herders groups. Although this law focuses on possession rather than ownership rights, for some herders it has raised fears over the ultimate privatisation of pastureland and reduction in the ability to move, particularly in times of need.

Government policy is also promoting intensification of livestock production. Thus, there are tensions between mobile and more sedentary livestock production in rural areas and questions are raised over the place of nomadic culture and identity in modern Mongolia.

Dr Upton said: "This is a critical moment in decision making about the future of Mongolia's rural areas. Enhanced rights of herders' groups to key seasonal pastures have the potential to make positive contributions to local livelihoods and to conservation. Increases in mining activity also make the recognition of land rights especially important, so that herders' voices may be heard in defending and seeking compensation for land loss and displacement.

"However, centuries old traditions of mobility, flexibility and reciprocity should not be lost. As other pastoral cultures have found, 'modernity' does not necessarily equate with sedentarisation or privatisation. Nomadic heritages and practices retain great value".

The Leverhulme team are finalising detailed reports and articles to share with herders, international donors, and government policy makers, as part of their contribution to these vital, ongoing debates. Results of the work have also been presented at this years' Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) annual conference in Edinburgh.
-end-
NOTE TO NEWSDESK:

For more information contact


Dr Caroline Upton (cu5@le.ac.uk); TELEPHONE 0116 252 3824

Dr Kate Moore (mek@le.ac.uk)

The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. For further information about the schemes that the Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at www.leverhulme.ac.uk / www.twitter.com/LeverhulmeTrust

Listen and download: Dr Caroline Upton talks on the issues facing Mongolian nomadic herders http://soundcloud.com/university-of-leicester/the-future-of-mongolian/s-aYEoy

University of Leicester

Related Decision Making Articles from Brightsurf:

Knowing the model you can trust - the key to better decision-making
As much of Europe is engulfed by a second wave of Covid-19, and track and trace struggles to meet demand, modelling support tools are being increasingly used by policymakers to make key decisions.

Happy endings trip up the brain's decision-making
The brain keeps track of the value of an experience as well as how it unfolds over time; overemphasizing the ending may trigger poor decision-making, according to new research published in JNeurosci.

Automatic decision-making prevents us harming others - new study
The processes our brains use to avoid harming other people are automatic and reflexive - and quite different from those used when avoiding harm to ourselves, according to new research.

Mapping the decision-making pathways in the brain
Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have identified a new area of the brain that could be involved in cost-benefit decision-making.

How the brain's internal states affect decision-making
By recording the activity of separate populations of neurons simultaneously, researchers have gained an unprecedented insight into how the 'waxing and waning' of our mental state influences the decisions we make.

Motherhood overrides the brain's decision-making
Motherhood takes over the brain's decision-making regions to prioritize caring for offspring, according to new research in rats published in eNeuro.

Get it over with, or procrastinate? New research explores our decision-making process
New research from the UBC Sauder School of Business may have figured out why.

Illuminating interactions between decision-making and the environment
Employing a game theory model, University of Pennsylvania researchers demonstrate how strategic decisions influence the environment in which those decisions are made, alterations which in turn influence strategy.

Lung cancer screening decision aid delivered through tobacco quitlines improves informed decision-making
Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have shown that a decision aid delivered through tobacco quitlines effectively reaches a screening-eligible population and results in informed decisions about lung cancer screening.

A molecular map of the brain's decision-making area
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have come one step closer toward understanding how the part of our brain that is central for decision-making and the development of addiction is organized on a molecular level.

Read More: Decision Making News and Decision Making Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.