When restoration contradicts the traditional land use

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Burenbaatar Ganbaatar

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The peatlands of Mongolia used to cover 2% of the country and are rapidly vanishing. Peatlands provide unique ecosystem services. Peatlands protect permafrost – the largest current water storage in the country — from thawing. They store water and carbon and provide habitats for wetland species and productive pastures. The latest assessment (2017) evidenced that peatlands were reduced by 50% during the last 50 years. The carbon emission caused by peatland degradation in Mongolia is estimated at up to 45 million tons per year, which makes Mongolia the seventh largest global emitter of CO2 from degrading peatlands. Mongolia considers including peatland restoration in the NDCs. That demands good pilots which could show the positive effect of restoration. The experiment on mire restoration in Khashat began in 2017 and involved fencing springs, construction of small dams on the flows – natural and originating from cattle paths, and reparation and fencing of the large dam in order to create an alternative source of water for cattle. Restoration is followed by monitoring. In the first years the restoration measures were opposed by a large part of the local community. Traditional land use does not recognise fencing and includes free unlimited grazing, using springs as water sources. The dramatic increase of cattle makes it impossible to maintain this approach. Peatland restoration benefits are not clear for local communities and costs include serious limitations in cattle density and access to water sources. The clear cost benefit analysis is needed to move ahead with ecological restoration projects.  

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration