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Colorado College

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment


At a time when Mongolia is experiencing the intense effects of land degradation, human activity, and climate change, it is crucial that a new land management framework is developed with conservation in mind. Pastoralism’s unique relationship with the land serves as a method of protecting the natural world for the future. This study focuses on a pastoral community in Western Mongolia while considering a main research question: Is a herder’s historically deep connection with the land enough to protect the modern pastoral lifestyle in Mongolia for years to come? In answering this question, a review of related previous studies on the environment and land management practices is conducted and 13 interviews are conducted with herders and conservationists in Bayan-Olgii aimag and Ulaanbaatar respectively. The mentalities of Kazakh herders are discussed and observations are made as to how land conservation and pastoralism can work together. It is clear that the Kazakh herders in Tolbo soum will continue the tradition of pastoralism for years to come, but there appears to be a large gap in the herders’ knowledge of the Protected Area Network and environmental protection. A community-based management approach is suggested because it holds herders accountable for managing and protecting their land, incorporates crucial environmental, pastoral, and governmental perspectives, and works towards protecting the pastoral tradition in Mongolia.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Asian Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Physical and Environmental Geography | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology of Culture


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