Development of resilient agro-pastoral systems against the risks of extreme weather events in arid grasslands in Northeast Asia


Cold and snow disasters (Dzud) have recently occurred in short cycles in Mongolia and its neighboring region. A major cause of such disasters is the degradation of grassland resources caused by extreme weather events and /or overgrazing. The damages due to these disasters do not only affect the state economy but also affect each household in the herder communities. The purpose of this project is to develop livestock farming systems which contribute to the mitigation of risks to herder-households and grasslands caused by extreme weather events, and to establish sustainable agro-pastoral systems. The collaborative research includes the following main three issues:
Firstly, estimation methods for the potential carrying capacity of winter reserves based on the maximum amount of pasture yields and the intake volumes of the grazing animals will be formulated. Then, the data will be combined by using satellite remote sensing and GIS technology, then the procedures for the production and dissemination of  rapidly-updated “carrying capacity maps” at a regional scale will be created for the control of grazing pressure.
Secondly, besides the provision of information on promising fodder crops and a sustainable cropping system to minimize soil degradation, the techniques for preparation and conservation of supplemental feeds by ensiling local feed resources, early fattening techniques for young animals by supplemental feeding, and value-added dairy products will be developed to contribute to risk reduction and stabilization of the herders’ household economy.
Thirdly, the response and coping mechanism of pastoral management against risks will be elucidated from the survey of the herders’ household economy, and recommendation for a risk-resilient pastoral management system will be proposed.

Grazing of sheep and goats in the steppe area.

Fig.1 Grazing of sheep and goats in the steppe area.