ЭКОЛОГИЧЕСКИЕ СДЕРЖИВАЮЩИЕ ФАКТОРЫ И ПОСЛЕДСТВИЯ НЕРАВНОМЕРНОГО использования УГОДИЙ: НА ПРИМЕРЕ ЭКОЛОГИЧЕСКОГО РЕГИОНА ГОБИ

ECOLOGICAL CONSTRAINTS AND CONSEQUENCES ON LAND-USE HETEROGENEITY: A CASE STUDY IN THE GOBI ECO-REGION


Ф.Джоли1,2, T.Самданжигмед1,3, К.Фе1
F.Joly1, T.Samdanjigmed1,2, C.Feh3
1Неправительственная организация «Ассоциация лошади Пржевальского»: TAKH
(Научный центр по охране водно-болотных угодий Средиземноморья,
Ле Самбюк, 13200 Арль, Франция - Этот адрес электронной почты защищён от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра., Этот адрес электронной почты защищён от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.)
1Association pour le cheval de Przewalski: TAKH
(Station biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France)
2AgroParisTech
(9 avenue du Maine 75732, Paris Cedex 15, France)
2АгроПарижТех
(9 авеню дю Мэйн, 75732, Париж 15, Франция
3Khovd University of Mongolia
(Khovd City, Khovd Aimag, Mongolia - Этот адрес электронной почты защищён от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.),
3Ховдский университет Монголии
(г.Ховд, Монголия, Этот адрес электронной почты защищён от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

 

Мы проводили исследование сезонного перемещения скота вместе с монгольским кочевым населением посредством картирования стоянок и проведения опросов. Мы выяснили, что экологические сдерживающие факторы, в частности, рельеф, играли решающую роль в выборе места для размещения сезонной стоянки скота. Это приводило к специфическому использованию угодий: на обширных участках исследуемой территории стоянки не появлялись совсем. Поскольку овец, коз и крупный рогатый скот монгольские пастухи держат рядом со своими стоянками, 43,15% угодий остается свободной для выпаса других копытных, как домашних (верблюды, лошади), так и диких.

We studied the transhumance pattern of a Mongolian herder community through camp mapping and interviews. We found that ecological constraints, in particular relief, played a predominant role in seasonal camp site choice. This leads to a specific land use pattern that leaves vast parts of the study site devoid of camps. As sheep, goats and cattle of the herders are kept close to the camps, they leave 43.15% of the range free for grazing by other ungulates, whether domestic, such as horses or camels, or wild.


Введение

Деградация засушливых районов (районов неорошаемого земледелия) является одной из самых серьезных экологических проблем в настоящее время. От 10 до 20% таких земель уже деградировали, причем большая часть по вине человека [4]. В этой связи требуется незамедлительное внедрение принципов устойчивого развития, а также доскональное понимание методов выпаса поголовья домашнего скота, поскольку в основе этих методов, или практик лежит пасторализм (пастбищное животноводство) [5].

В холодной и сухой Монголии пастбищное животноводство опирается на природный фураж и местные породы скота, при этом используется принцип мобильности [5]. В этой стране поголовье домашнего скота значительно выросло с 1990-х гг., что может приводить к деградации [5]. Однако эта деградация не является одинаковой в ландшафтах, поскольку использование угодий основывается на практиках сезонного перемещения скота, которые находятся под сильным воздействием экологических сдерживающих факторов [1, 6]. Стоянки скота, следовательно, распределены неравномерно, и важно оценить неравномерность (гетерогенность) выпаса для прогнозирования степени деградации.

Мы исследовали практики содержания и выпаса поголовья домашнего скота местным населением в монгольской части пустыни Гоби с помощью картирования сезонных районов выпаса. Мы также проводили опросы, чтобы понять принципы размещения стоянок скота и принципы управления стадом. Дополнительная информация по численности поголовья домашнего скота была получена у местных органов власти. Затем мы рассчитали сезонный процент использования угодий по видам местного домашнего скота для описания неравномерности (гетерогенности) использования угодий.

Introduction

Degradation of the world’s drylands ranks among the greatest contemporary environmental problems. Between 10 and 20% of them are already degraded, and most of this degradation can be attributed to human activities [4]. Their sustainable management is therefore urgently needed, and requires an accurate understanding of livestock grazing practices since pastoralism is their main use [5].

In the cold and arid Mongolia, pastoralism relies on natural forage and local breeds and is based on mobility [5]. In this country livestock number significantly increased since the 1990s which may cause degradation [5]. However, this degradation would not be homogeneous across the landscape, because land-use is based on transhumance practices strongly influenced by ecological constraints [1, 6]. Camps are therefore not distributed evenly and it is important to assess the heterogeneity of grazing to predict how degradation would occur.

We studied the herding practices of a pastoralist community in the Mongolian Gobi by mapping their seasonal grazing areas. We also carried out interviews to understand the location of the camps and the way livestock is herded. Further information on livestock number was collected from the local government. From this, we calculated the seasonal percentage of land used according to local livestock species to describe land use heterogeneity.

Material and methods

Study area

The community inhabits a 291,244 ha site called Khomiin Tal consisting of one bag, the smallest administrative and livestock management unit of Mongolia. It is located in the west of the country in Onts bag, Durvuljiin district, Zavkhan province in the Gobi eco-region of Mongolia according to Hilbig’s classification [2]. It is a buffer zone of the Khar Us Nuur National Park and the center of the site is located at N 47°56’54.82’’ – E 93°38’29.36’’.

Approximately 45 families move their traditional Mongolian felt tents (ger) around spring, summer, autumn and winter camps. Except in the case of drought, they come back cyclically to the same places where small structures such as corrals, wells or wooden sheds are present. They breed sheep, goats, horses, cattle and camels.

Khomiin Tal accommodates several populations of wild ungulates (Procapra gutturosa, Gazella subgutturosa, Saiga tatarica, Capra sibirica), and is one of the three Mongolian reintroduction sites of the Przewalski’s horse Equus ferus przewalskii classified ‘endangered’ [3]. Twenty two individuals were reintroduced in 2004 and 2005 and they are for the moment in a 14,000 ha fenced area. In time, they shall roam all over Khomiin Tal.

Mapping, interviews and workshop

We visited each camp with a local driver who knew each herder personally and recorded the positions with a handheld GPS in 2007.

In 2004 and 2007, we carried out thirty five interviews asking herders the 3 main criteria, for each season, in establishing their camps. Results of the interviews were presented at a workshop with the herders in August 2008 to allow a further interpretation. We also asked the maximum distance livestock can move from the ger for each season and from this, we created buffers around the camps to map the area used from spring to winter by GIS (Quantum GIS 1.7.2). We then superimposed the seasonal areas to determine the remaining area available for the wild ungulates.

Finally, we collected livestock statistics from to the Durvuljiin district administration (June 2011 count). We weighed the numbers by the equivalent in sheep units (SU) of each species (1 goat = 0.9 SU – 1 cattle = 5 SU – 1 camel = 6 SU – 1 horse = 7 SU – 1 sheep = 1 SU) [7].

Results

Camps’ location

Thirty five camps are in use in winter and spring, 33 in summer and 28 in autumn. The numbers vary according to season because several families often join together to use the same camp. Several gers can therefore be present at the same place.

There is a general movement from West to East of the camps from spring to winter (Figure 1). In spring, summer and autumn, the camps are located in the main plain of Khomiin Tal and in winter, the camps are close to the small Seer mountain range that culminates at 1666 m.

Interviews and workshop result

During interviews people gave several criteria for choosing the location of seasonal camps. Vegetation and water are the first criteria to be cited in spring, summer and autumn, and they are ranked 3rd and 4th in winter. Relief is mentioned approximately 13% of the time in spring and summer, but 30% in winter making it the most important criterion. The other criteria cited more than 10% of the time is shelter in winter and spring, and temperature in autumn.

During the 2008 workshop we discussed the results with herders. They explained that, in terms of vegetation, the amount of grass is more important than quality, thus they do not aim for a specific foraging zone. Herders declared that water is crucial to livestock and that hand-made wells can be easily dug in the Khomiin Tal main plain substrate. Spring, summer and autumn camps thus have their own wells. In winter, livestock hydrate themselves by eating snow. Relief is important at three seasons but for different reasons. Herders explained that in winter relief stops cold winds while in the summer, it allows wind to diminish the nuisance of biting insects. In spring herders prefer the flat plains because it is the lambing season. The camp surrounding must therefore be visible to be able to intervene in case of attack by predators (wolves) on the newborn livestock.

Livestock movements around the ger are different according to species. Sheep, goats and cattle are closely watched: they graze in the land surrounding the camps during the day and are brought back every night at the ger. Oppositely, most of the camels and the domestic horses are largely free roaming with only a couple of individuals kept at the camp. Camels are usually used for draught and horses used as means of transportation and to herd livestock. For horses there is a turnover, they are kept during a certain time at the camp but regularly replaced by free roaming individuals.

When herders replied the interviews about the maximum distance sheep, goats and cattle can move away from the ger, they did not distinguish among the 3 species. The shortest distance between grazing site and ger is in spring (2.2 km), when newborns are present and have to be watched to prevent predator attack. The second smallest grazing distance is in winter, also a risky season regarding predators (3.3 km). Summer and autumn are less risky so herders let their animals go further, 5.1 and 4.8 km respectively (Figure 1).

Land use by livestock

Camels and herders can potentially go wherever they want in Khomiin Tal as herders let most of them roam free. The maps generated from camps’ locations and maximum distances sheep, goats and cattle can go (Figure 1) allowed a calculation of the percentage of land they do not use. In spring they leave 87.00% of the site available (253,396 ha), in summer 69.08% (201,193 ha), in autumn 67.15% (195,576 ha) and in winter 80.58% (234,688 ha). When seasonal utilization maps are superimposed, 43.15 % of Khomiin Tal remains unoccupied (125,664 ha) throughout the year.

Livestock number

In terms of number of livestock, goats are the most abundant species, followed by sheep, horses, cattle and camels (Table 1). However, in terms of sheep units the ranking is different. The free roaming horses represent the highest stocking rate followed by sheep, goats, cattle and camels.

Discussion

The same seasonal camps are used every year by herders and their positions are chosen according to precise criteria. As vegetation quality is not taken into account and wells can easily be dug, relief plays the main role in the distribution of the camps. It protects against the harshness of the environment caused by climate, predators and insects. The land use pattern thus follows terrain features which makes it very structured and unevenly distributed.

Herders and their sheep, goats and cattle that are kept close to the ger, are in consequence confined to specific places. The three livestock species that represent 61.60% of forage consumption, leave between 67.15% and 87.00% of Khomiin Tal’s area according to season. If seasonal maps are superimposed, the percentage is 43.15%, a significant proportion of the site. Interestingly, the remaining part of the range can therefore be used by the wild ungulate populations without being in direct competition with sheep, goats and cattle.

However, horses and camels can potentially use the whole area and on the top of that, horses represent the highest stocking rate of the local livestock in terms of sheep units. It is therefore necessary to study their home range to finish estimating the grazing heterogeneity in our study site, then it will be time to envisage extrapolating our findings to other similar pastoralist communities.


This research was carried out by the ‘Association pour le cheval de Przewalski: TAKH’ thanks to ‘MAVA / Fondation pour la nature’ funds.

REFERENCE:

1. Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E. 1999. Sustaining the steppes: A geographical history of pastoral land use in Mongolia. The Geographical Review 89(3): 315-342.
2. Hilbig, W. 1995. The vegetation of Mongolia. SPB Academic publishing bv, Amsterdam.
3. IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. . Downloaded on 20 January 2012.
4. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Desertification Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
5. Suttie, J. M., Reynolds, S. G., Batello, C. 2005. Grassland of the World, FAO, Roma.
6. Suttie, J.M., Reynolds, S. G. (eds.) 2003. Transhumant grazing systems in Temperate Asia. FAO Plant Production and Protection Series, No. 31.
7. Ulgiit, E. & Stewart, T. 2006. The Mongolian Farm Management Notebook (1st ed.). USAIDMercyCorps.http://www.mercycorps.org.mn/documents/Mongolian%20Farm%20Mgt%20Note%20Book%20FINAL%20ENG.pdf last accessed January 2012.


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