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GREEN GOLD PROJECT
COMPONENT 2: APPLIED RESEARCH
ANNUAL REPORT 2014
Ulaanbaatar
2014
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Outcome 2: – Applied Research that produces results for the practitioners: Science based understanding of
Range Manageme...
3
policy makers will be provided annually by standardized, clearly defined consistent product of rangeland state of
Mongol...
4
According to the trainings assessment the 80 percent of 450 participants had a skill to identify any plant species using...
5
Fig.4. Training on rangeland monitoring data interpretation
Preliminarily, as a result of 2012 national rangeland monito...
6
the climate, soils, landscape position; composition and production of vegetation and how vegetation degrades and can
be ...
7
3. Implementation of ESD & PUG based rangeland management
- Awareness raising
- Better coordination of soum government o...
8
spectacular progress made by the Applied Science group over the last 7-8 years in 1) becoming fluent with current
scienc...
9
3. The ESD and PUG based soum rangeland management approach will be piloted in 15 soums representing
different eco zones...
10
Post Doctoral students are hired:
With the aim to analyse collected data in previous Green Gold phases and prepare manu...
11
to improving their knowledge and skills; and was excellent. It became evident that the number of participants will
incr...
12
In 2013 was selected following two text books for translation that will be used as a primary text book for students and...
13
Ider (Zavkhan) Heavily degraded pasture on June and August
14
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Green Gold project Applied research component operational report 2014

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Green Gold project, Component 2 - Applied research

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Green Gold project Applied research component operational report 2014

  1. 1. 1 GREEN GOLD PROJECT COMPONENT 2: APPLIED RESEARCH ANNUAL REPORT 2014 Ulaanbaatar 2014
  2. 2. 2 Outcome 2: – Applied Research that produces results for the practitioners: Science based understanding of Range Management issues enhances scope for sustainable range management at all levels. The 2014, second year of phase IY of Green Gold project, Applied research component was focusing on reviewing of preliminary results of research activities and its implementation feasibility and demand at different level with partner institutes like NAMEM; ALAGAC; NUM and MSUA and building of platform for their collaboration. Output 2.1 Human and institutional capacity is created within relevant ministries that enables i) improved data management, ii) use of ecological site description-related concepts to interpret monitoring data, and iii) ) serve by a consistent products on regional and national dynamics. Output 2.2. ESD concepts, documents, map products, and extension materials are produced jointly with the target soums to be used by PUGs/soums. They will serve as a foundation for spatial expansion of ESD development. Output 2.3. New technologies for forage production with annuals and perennials and for pasture rehabilitation are developed and demonstrated in experiments for the new ecological conditions of the target areas of GG IV, are tested with PUGs and transferred to extension services for further up-scaling. Output 2.4. Human and institutional capacities for interpretation of existing data and independent adaptation of rangeland management and forage production to present and future challenges are developed. Output 2.1 Human and institutional capacity is created within relevant ministries that enables i) improved data management, ii) use of ecological site description-related concepts to interpret monitoring data, and iii) serve by a consistent products on regional and national dynamics. A capacity strengthening in set up of national rangeland health monitoring data management and products delivery to the government The ecological potential based rangeland monitoring methodology has generated broad based buy-in as a national system of monitoring and assessing rangeland health, and has been adopted as a national monitoring methodology since 2011. In 2014, S.Sumjidmaa (Data base management consultant) has been working at the Agricultural Meteorology Department, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment providing by every days consultancy on following issues: 1. Quality assurance of national monitoring data set: Based on detailed review of 2011 and 2012 data of national rangeland monitoring covering 1550 plots of NAMEM, we prepared the list of most common errors could happen at field data collection and data entry level. Following this list the evaluation letter covering the main types of results they had and recommendations on how to improve have been sent to each of aimags. It was good to identify the problems we need to address urgently and in other hand to motivate the local engineers and technicians to improve their weaknesses. As today, NAMEM staff has a different responsibility depending on their positions like a soum technicians are responsible for primary data collection, aimag engineers are responsible for error checking of primary data and its entry into Aimag Data base while the national level engineers in UB are responsible for analysis and interpretation of the whole national data set. As a result of it the government and
  3. 3. 3 policy makers will be provided annually by standardized, clearly defined consistent product of rangeland state of Mongolia. 2. Improvement of plant species identification skills: One of the key factor of quality and consistency of rangeland monitoring data and its proper interpretation is the proper identification of rangeland functional key species. Trainings to build the plant species identification skills have been organized regionally in last two years so we covered almost all aimags except following 7 aimags such as Bayan Ulgii, Sukhbaatar, Dundgobi, Dornogobi, Darkhan, Orkhon and Gobisumber. These remained aimags are planned to be covered in 2015. National experts of botany from NUM, Academy of Science and MSUA worked as a resource person for regional training. Fig 2. Regional training for NAMEM engineers and technicians on species identification and preparation of herbarium, 2014
  4. 4. 4 According to the trainings assessment the 80 percent of 450 participants had a skill to identify any plant species using the morphological key. As a result of regional trainings, local engineers and technicians became able to identify the local plant species using the Plant species key and to prepare a herbarium of local species as a reference. One of important achievements for this year was the establishment of national rangeland species reference herbarium for different eco zones (Figure 3). The rangeland key functional plant species of this herbarium will serve by reference for the species identification and also as a platform for the interpretation of monitoring information. Fig 3. Rangeland plant species herbarium 3. Rangeland monitoring data analysis and interpretation and delivery of its products. Based on the rangeland inventory data collected from more than 600 plots, we developed the Recovery concept of Mongolian rangelands with the heavy support of USDA team with the aim to provide consistent information about potential recovery options is essential for translating assessment into management actions that improve land conditions and human livelihoods. We introduced a 5-level classification of recovery potential, called “recovery classes”. They are based on common patterns of rangeland dynamics observed worldwide. While the logic underpinning the applications of these classes to a particular land area is science-based, it must be recognized that in Mongolia, the classes represent testable hypotheses that can be verified or disproven through management actions followed by monitoring. Based on the Recovery concept the 26 different models are drafted for most common rangeland community shifts, state transitions and related triggers and restoration pathways that enables NAMEM engineers to deliver to public the rangeland health assessment product yearly. The recovery class concept with related models and users guide have been introduced to the Scientific committee of NAMEM and provided by relevant feedback on its future implications and sharing with other stakeholders. Following the official acceptance of the concept by Scientific Committee of NAMEM, the aimag engineers are trained for usage of this concept as a tool for the monitoring data interpretation (Figure 4).
  5. 5. 5 Fig.4. Training on rangeland monitoring data interpretation Preliminarily, as a result of 2012 national rangeland monitoring data analysis from 1550 plots at NAMEM using the Recovery concept, as today the 90 percent of Mongolian rangelands is altered in some level where more than 80 percent is recoverable within 3-10 years through changing the management approach. All of these new concepts and preliminary results of Mongolian rangeland health are introduced to key decision makers and practitioners of livestock sector in Mongolia through the national workshop titled “Mongolian rangelands at the crossroads” 16-17, June 2014. It was the first time that the potential options to maintain and improve the rangeland state in Mongolia are clearly defined and presented. Lessons learnt: 1. Based on the significant progress since 2011 in monitoring data quality and National data base functioning at the NAMEM, NAMEM has a great potential for the sustainability of nationwide rangeland monitoring system in Mongolia. 2. NAMEM officially expressed the interest to share information and collaborate in rangeland monitoring and assessment field with other Institutes such as ALAGAC and MIA. 3. NAMEM has an interest to update and improve the Carrying capacity estimation methodology under GG support. Output 2.2. ESD concepts, documents, map products, and extension materials are produced jointly with the target soums to be used by PUGs/soums. They will serve as a foundation for spatial expansion of ESD development. ESD research Unit set up at the ALAGAC leaded by Budbaatar plays a key role in creating the better communication and efficient collaboration on ESD and PUG based rangeland management approach at national and local level. Based on the knowledge and experience from pilot studies the ESD and PUG based rangeland management approach concept is developed including all the procedures on defining of soum rangelands potential, mapping techniques, its application in planning & enforcing the management and the monitoring of the management impact. According to this concept, based on the ecological potential the Mongolian rangelands classified into 38 different Ecological site groups that are differ in
  6. 6. 6 the climate, soils, landscape position; composition and production of vegetation and how vegetation degrades and can be restored. With the aim to pilot the application of this concept as a management tool, ESD research Unit activities are focused in 3 more target soums such as Bulgan soum of Dornod aimag, Undurkhangai soum of Uvs aimag and Ider soum of Zavkhan aimag representing different eco zones (Figure 5). Figure 5. Pilot soums of the ESD and PUG based rangeland management approach Main activities focused on: 1. Preparatory phase: - Mapping the PUG boundaries - Mapping the seasonal pasture areas in PUG area - Defining the ecological potential and Ecological site groups - Defining the rangeland community state - Defining the carrying capacity by seasonal pastures for each of PUGs 2. Planning phase: - Defining the problems to address - Strategically plan the 4 year period and annually - Budget proposal - Approval of soum ESD and PUG based management plan
  7. 7. 7 3. Implementation of ESD & PUG based rangeland management - Awareness raising - Better coordination of soum government officials such as environmental inspector, land manager, AHBU personnel and APUG leaders. - Encouraging a herders to the proper management through LUAs 4. Implementation & Monitoring of ESD & PUG based rangeland management impact - Development of monitoring design and core indicators - Defining the baseline - Carry out the Photo point monitoring and create the Soum rangeland state monitoring database. All these phase activities are involved the local government officials and herders as a demo training. As we learnt, herders participation had a key role in making all of these stage activities successful (Figure 6). Figure 6. Herders participation has a key role in soum rangeland management Regarding the Output 2.1 and Output 2.2, today we are at the level having a good knowledge on the rangeland ecosystem functioning, its potential for resilience and recovery being able to develop the concepts that will be served as an interpretation and management tool in rangeland management field. In advance to submit the national report of Mongolian rangeland state we organized a national workshop “Mongolian rangelands at the crossroads:-which choice shall we take?” having more than 100 participants from government institutes, research community, local government and herders representatives. The workshop demonstrated the interface between ecological and societal issues in rangeland management in an unprecedented fashion. The information presented at the workshop highlights the
  8. 8. 8 spectacular progress made by the Applied Science group over the last 7-8 years in 1) becoming fluent with current science-based management approaches and tools, 2) establishing linkages to the science and tools in the activities of government operations/ministries, and 3) initial application of tools to guide on-the ground management. This process had to be learned by all involved and can serve as a model for what can be done globally given the right institutional setting and leadership. The next big step toward our ultimate goal--improved rangeland management practices, rangeland conditions, and herder livelihoods—is to mobilize the ecological tools that Green Gold has developed in conjunction with innovative approaches at reducing stocking rates. First, rangeland management can be facilitated with lower animal numbers that promotes natural recovery of plant species diversity and desired forage species that, in turn, increase forage production and resilience of production to drought. Second, increased forage availability leads to improved animal condition and survivorship rates during dzud events. Third, improved animal condition can lead to more profit per animal given the right market conditions. Fourth, improved plant cover, production, and diversity may have several environmental benefits, including increased soil carbon storage and improved wildlife habitat. Strategies to reduce animal numbers will enable grassland restoration following the hypothesized management pathways represented in state and transition models. Thus, it is important to examine the linkage of innovative approaches to initiate reductions in animal numbers (outside of a Land Law), such as adoption of grazing fees and/or ecosystem service payments at the soum level, with management planning and monitoring. The achievements and lessons learnt are presented to ALAGAC Management Committee where they showed a positive interest to adopt the whole concept nationally and co fund the pilot activities in soum and aimag level. As requested by Khurelshagai, Director of ALAGAC we organized Inter agency meeting on this topic where representatives from MIA, NAMEM, ALAGAC were working on following issues: 1. Adoption of ESD and PUG based soum rangeland management approach 2. Potential collaboration of ALAGAC and NAMEM on nationwide and local rangeland monitoring and assessment program 3. Inter agency working group set up at MIA on development of legal documents such as LUAs, grazing fee and livestock tax. As a result of this meeting all parties are agreed on following issues: 1. ALAGAC will sign cooperation MOU with SCO to promote more ecologically, institutionally and economically sound soum land management approach based on GG lessons. 2. The ESD and PUG based soum rangeland management approach will be leaded by ALAGAC and officially added in ALAGAC’s land management manual.
  9. 9. 9 3. The ESD and PUG based soum rangeland management approach will be piloted in 15 soums representing different eco zones and in Arkhangai aimag level with co funding of GG and ALAGAC in 2015-2016. 4. Khurelshagai, Director of ALAGAC will include this approach into the land management policy of new government that will be presented to Prime Minister Cabinet in January. 5. Rangeland quality assessment methodology at ALAGAC will be adjusted into the nationwide rangeland monitoring methodology at NAMEM and data bases and products of two Institutes will be shared. 6. Inter agency working group under MIA will work on legislations enforce the resilient stocking rate adjustment improvement of efficiency of animal husbandry. Lessons learnt: 1. ALAGAC has a significant interest to adopt nationally the ESD & PUG based soum rangeland management approach that needs a support in evidence based, applicable practical recommendations and legal environment where USDA expats technical expertise coordination & collaboration among different Ministries and Agencies remain very essential. 2. Herders became aware about the resilient stocking rate management needs but encouragement of herders for active participation in soum rangeland management processes is still needed to be continued. 3. Experiences from ESD & PUG based rangeland management approach have been discussed nationally and internationally on Central Asian Pasture Conference in Bishkek and Annual meeting of American Society for range management in Sacramento, USA. Output 2.3. New technologies for forage production with annuals and perennials and for pasture rehabilitation are developed and demonstrated in experiments for the new ecological conditions of the target areas of GG IV, are tested with PUGs and transferred to extension services for further up-scaling. Technological trials on annual and perennial forage crops and resting impact on degraded rangeland recovery are carried out at MSUA. In 2014, we’ve been working more on upscaling the experiments results at PUG level In Buyant and Naranbulag soums with the collaboration of Extension component. 1. According to the extension trial results, Medicago sativa, perennial legume has a potential to produce yield twice a year in the region. PUG herders harvested 6.5-6.6 t/ha hay as a first harvest and 8.2-8.8 t/ha hay in the end of season. Annual species such as Sudan grass and oat produced 4.4-4.8 t/ha hay yield just for one time time harvest but it has shown the potential to harvest earlier at the milk stage and graze the residues for late fall and winter period. 2. Resting impact experiment conducted in three ecological zones such as Ider soum of Zavkhan aimag representing forest steppe zones, Zuun-Gobi soum of Uvs aimag and Durgun soum of Khovd aimag representing desert steppe zone covering sites representing relatively similar potentials but having different grazing pressure (slight; moderate and heavy). According to results, the recovery rate through resting is variable depending on ecological condition and degradation level as well. The area having light to moderate grazing pressure especially in favorable environmental condition respond much faster to resting that is highly supportive to Recovery class concept, rangeland monitoring data interpretation tool.
  10. 10. 10 Post Doctoral students are hired: With the aim to analyse collected data in previous Green Gold phases and prepare manuscripts for international peer reviewed journals two Post Doc fellows such as Anarmaa Sharkhuu and Ariuntsetseg Lkhagva have been worked at NUM. They have been working on systemizing the data and redesigning of work and proposed two manuscripts on conservative management and recovery of degraded rangeland. In brief, results suggested that continuous utilization for a growing season and/or repeated utilization over consecutive years do not affect biomass when conservative utilization is applied. Conservative utilization might have provided an opportunity for plants to regenerate, refill carbon storage etc. These results imply that pasture of forest-steppe can be used continuously and effectively when proper grazing management is applied. In addition, results suggest that resting is important for less productive sites because they are more vulnerable to degradation. Furthermore, results showed that continuous, heavy utilization for a growing season affects biomass of grass and forbs but not of sedges, implying that community type should be considered in addition to site history and productivity. These results will be scientific bases of management practice in this ecosystem. Currently, Post Doc fellows are preparing drafts of manuscript and aiming to submit it soon to either Rangeland Ecology and Management or Journal of Vegetation Science. Lessons learnt: 1. Findings and recommendations of technological trials on forage production, resting impact and… successfully up scaled at PUG level. 2. Since technological trials are not continued in 2015 we will focus on more binding and dissemination of knowledge and findings we gained in last 2 years. 3. Technological trials on rangeland ecology and management carried out at NUM, will be continued by NUM and other donor’s fund. 4. Research results suggested that continuous utilization for a growing season and/or repeated utilization over consecutive years do not affect biomass when conservative utilization is applied. Output 2.4. Human and institutional capacities for interpretation of existing data and independent adaptation of rangeland management and forage production to present and future challenges are developed. 1. Capacity development of young generation of rangeland researchers and lecturers through a young researcher club Programs oriented towards building the capacity of young researchers in the field of pasture ecology have been implemented through “Young researchers’ club”. Summarized outputs are following: a. Diversification and expansion of participants: The registered member of the club increased from 74 members in 2013 to 337 members in 2014. Visibility and reputation of the club has increased significantly, so the number of members is likely to increase in near future. Furthermore, the number of participants attended in seminars and trainings organized in 2014 was doubled compared with the number of participants in 2013. In addition, the research club has representatives from diverse institutions including different schools of universities, research institutes, governmental agency (Ministry of Environment and Green Development), NGOs and private entities in environmental sector. b. Delivery of demand based programs and user satisfaction: Based on our informal survey, conducted in the beginning of 2014, training programs and seminars were organized. Eighty three percent of the participants of questionnaire, which distributed in October 2014, indicated that the training programs met their demands; contributed
  11. 11. 11 to improving their knowledge and skills; and was excellent. It became evident that the number of participants will increase in near future due to high demand. For example, eight students and a lecturer from the Agricultural University of Darkhan attended last seminar, and expressed their interest to consistently attend our trainings. c. Strengthened individual skills and competences: The general background knowledge and capacity of the students have been steadily improving thanks to various activities, grants and fellowships. For instance, thanks to language training, language ability of participants was statistically significantly improved (t5=7.26, P<0.001). These activities and support yields visible results. For example, Vandandorj Sumiya, young researcher from NAMHEM, has participated in language training program, recently been awarded an Australian government scholarship, and accepted at master’s programs at Australian University. Also, Munkhzul Ts, a senior student in the Ecology curriculum at NUM, has been awarded a nationally prestigious scholarship from the Oyu Tolgoi Company. d. Increased knowledge on internationally recognized research methodologies and concepts: Through various activities such as field training, one-to-one consultation, workshops, seminars, the knowledge about internationally recognized research methodologies and concepts of members was notably increased. In general, 70-75% of participants of the questionnaire distributed among active members indicated that they got introduced to current paradigms, theories and practices in the field of rangeland; they provided an opportunity to approach holistically to issues in the field of pastureland; they got introduced to current, state-of-art aspects; they learnt research methodology and methods of data analyses; and they got opportunities to get advice from more experienced researchers. e. Presentations and publications: Currently, grant awardees in 2014, produced one article, accepted at peer- reviewed international journal. In addition, draft of manuscript is in preparation by another grant awardee. In near future, research conducted in 2013-2014 by students will yield, a scientific article, with aim of submitting peer-reviewed international journal, an economic model, which incorporate pasture characteristics and the economic considerations of a herder family, and a management technique to improve pasture quality, several recommendations for policy makers and database of pasture. Competitive research grant program We aim to improve competitiveness of young researchers via the program above so that they can compete and earn international scholarships. We planned to spend the budget for individual research of young researchers by calling for competitive research grant proposals among young people who are specializing in rangeland-related fields. It was an open call and by announcing the call in early spring that young researchers to use this opportunity for the growing season of this year. Currently, grant awardees in 2014, produced one article, accepted at peer-reviewed international journal (Spatial and temporal variability in vegetation cover of Mongolia and its implications, Sumiya VANDANDORJ, Batdelger GANTSETSEG, Bazartseren BOLDGIV). In addition, draft of manuscript is in preparation by another grant awardee. In near future, research conducted in 2013-2014 by students will yield, a scientific article, with aim of submitting peer-reviewed international journal, an economic model, which incorporate pasture characteristics and the economic considerations of a herder family, and a management technique to improve pasture quality, several recommendations for policy makers and database of pasture. Curriculum/ syllabus development of rangeland management courses at MSUA “Rangeland management” and “Animal nutrition” curriculums are revised and approved in 2013 started to be used in first semester of 2014/2015 academic year. Aiming to support the teaching capacity development, module training is carried out on internationally recognized concepts and modules for sustainable rangeland and herd management and best practices where national and international consultants and professionals such as Dr. Batkhishig, Dr. Daariimaa; Tsanjid and Dr. Maria Fernandez, S.Yamasaki, A.Uehara were giving talks.
  12. 12. 12 In 2013 was selected following two text books for translation that will be used as a primary text book for students and lecturers as well: 1. Sixth edition of “Range management principles and practices”, Jerry L.Holechek, Rex D.Pieper; Carlton N.Herbel 2. “Livestock Feeds and Feeding”, Richard O. Kellems and David C.Church Translation and editing of the first book have been completed and now is under publishing, expected to be ready by beginning of February. Second book is under translation and expected to be ready by second quarter of 2015. Author of “Range management principles and practices” has been invited to give a presentation on selected chapters of the book and University professors, researchers from Research Institutes, Government officials from MIA, ALAGAC, professionals from Mining sectors have been attended this 5 days program. It was a well accepted program since it had very actual discussions and brain storming on ecological, institutional and socio economic features and potential opportunities to manage it in best way with case studies and best practices in different regions of the World. Lessons learned: • As a first product of young researchers club activities and researchers grant program, one of grant awardees in 2014 produced one article, accepted at peer-reviewed international journal (Spatial and temporal variability in vegetation cover of Mongolia and its implications, Sumiya VANDANDORJ, Batdelger GANTSETSEG, Bazartseren BOLDGIV). • Newly revised “Rangeland management” and “Animal nutrition” curriculums are in use in MSUA program and a primary text books will be ready soon for students use.
  13. 13. 13 Ider (Zavkhan) Heavily degraded pasture on June and August
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