Researching Rangelands and the Ungulates That Live There
In the long term, TAKH's purpose is to allow Przewalski's horses to leave the fenced release site and roam freely throughout Khomyn Tal, sharing forage with the livestock that has bred here for centuries. TAKH is therefore collaborating with herders to implement a pasture use plan to prevent competition between Przewalski's horses and livestock. The country-wide threat of overgrazing in Mongolia justifies the importance of sustainable pasture use.
To achieve this, we identified and mapped the rangelands and wetlands of Khomyn Tal, as well as the seasonal grazing areas used by herders. We also gained an understanding the local way of breeding livestock. Despite these gaines in our knowledge, other studies are necessary and are currently underway.
Once all the necessary data has been collected we will present it to the local people and work with them on a final pasture use plan. Our approach will be to propose management patterns and let herders implement them according to their ability and interest. To facilitate implementation, we are counting on the community development component of our project.
Typology and Mapping of Rangelands and Wetlands
Following field data collection in 2006, typology and mapping of the vegetation community was accomplished:
We classified vegetation communities into two types:
- Arid rangelands whose floristic composition varies according to substrate particle size.
- Wetlands present due to proximity of lakes and rivers.
Since 2004, we have regularly interviewed herders to gain detailed knowledge of herders' use of Khomyn Tal pasture. This data reveals how herders' manage their pasture and how they are constrained by climatic and economic constraints.
Mapping the seasonal use of Khomyn Tal gave us an excellent overview of transhumant ( or cyclical) movements of the nomadic herders:
These areas were calculated from the positions of transhumant herder family camps, and the furthest distance the sheep and goat herds move from the camp. This distance changes according to season, for example in spring they do not move far because newborn lambs graze closer to the family camp.