Gobi Herders’ Decision-Making and Risk Management under Changing Climate
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Our research examines herder livelihoods strategies in a region of the South Gobi desert that is heavily affected by both formal and informal/illegal mining and is exposed to natural hazards such as dzud (lethally severe winters) and drought. The term ‘herder’ encompasses a wide range of animal-related activities and households correspondingly utilize a complex range of strategies to respond to environmental, political, and socioeconomic conditions. We conducted semi-structured interviews with local herders as well as with individuals who had abandoned herding practices. We discuss how climatic factors such as dzud and drought can affect herders’ livelihood decision-making, including engaging in informal/illegal mining, becoming a contracted herder or opening a small business in settlements. We also demonstrate that both social aspirations and climate-related economic vulnerability play a role in the decision to pursue alternative livelihoods.
KeywordsGobi herders Climate change Informal/illegal mining Livelihood strategies Dzud Risk Decision-making Pastoralism South Gobi Mongolia
We acknowledge the support of local people who agreed to be interviewed anonymously for this research. All views expressed in this paper are those of authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the funding organization.
Tserennadmid Nadia Mijiddorj received Wildlife Conservation Network scholarship through her Doctoral research supported by Snow Leopard Trust.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest in subject of matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
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