First of it's kind project restoring Nomadic practices to enable ecosystem recovery and carbon uptake
area of project
Nomads familes engaged
Over the last generation, Mongolian Nomads have had to cope with many political and cultural changes. For nomadic communities and herders, their traditional way of life has been disturbed and much of their ancestral knowledge has been eroded.
Many nomads have adopted a more sedentary lifestyle – moving only once or twice a year, compared with four to five times in previous generations. This has led to overgrazing and degradation of the pastures and ecosystems. This results in CO2 being released from the ecosystems and soils.
Following three years of research, funded by the Darwin Initiative, a new Nomad driven project has been developed under the Plan Vivo Standard, through a partnership between the University of Leicester and the Mongolian Society for Range Management. It is the first of its kind in Mongolia, creating performance based payments to herder families based on changes they are able to make which impact positively on the earths carbon levels. Much of this is about restoring the traditional nomadic way of life to reduce over grazing pressure on sensitive ecosystems.
The project is operating in 3 regions of Mongolia. Tov Aimag, Arkanghai Aimag and Bayankhongor Soum.
CO2 benefit is created by restoration of the grassland ecosystems and the subsequent uptake of carbon into the vegetation and soils.
People are organised into 3 traditional extended family groups called Heseg. Nomads are being empowered by the value placed on their traditional way of life.
Local herders are being financially compensated for protecting their local environment simply by adhering to traditional nomadic principles. Payments are improving livelihoods and food security. A key benefit is the set up of micro-loans in each Heseg. By pooling resources and skills, and with access to micro-loans the Hesegs are able to sell finished products rather than raw materials, and fetch higher prices. This is working well for processing and creating from animal skins.
The project is increasing soil carbon by reducing grazing. This has a direct benefits to 4 key grassland habitats: riparian meadow, mountain meadow, mountain steppe and steppe. Also, the Heseg undertake biodiversity surveys across their lands. Herders are patrolling forested areas to prevent the cutting of trees and working together to stop illegal hunting. Grazing animals including the Ibex are being helped with Hay in extreme winters. Herders are also planting indigenous trees to reduce demands on existing woodland.