Keynote Lectures

Description

The Mongolian steppe is one of the world’s largest grassland and it is an arid to semiarid land with a strong climate gradient. Biodiversity loss leading to desertification and land degradation is estimated to be impacting around 65% of the total area of Mongolia. The preliminary objective of this project was to trial the Positive Deviance Methodology to determine if this method assists herders to design behaviors to reverse this biodiversity loss. This project is a partnership between Mongolian Herders, Mongolian rangeland scientists and Australian based Stipa Native Grasses Association. The Positive Deviance Methodology has five basic steps based around creating the conditions that allow the local community to identify practices, develop solutions and create benchmarks and monitor progress. This project focuses on allowing herders to design regenerative practices and behaviors. Baseline monitoring, meetings and interviews were used to define the current practices for summer and winter grazing areas. Separate degradation mechanisms were identified for the different areas. Descriptions of outcomes from regenerating practices, high landscape function and perennial grass diversity, were clearly in the memories of older herders and in verbal history of younger herders and allowed the identification of temporal positive deviants. Herder meetings were then held so that the local community could start investigating the design and development of activities that would expand and amplify possible solutions. Herder initiated practice change was recorded after one herder meeting.

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Management of Grazing Lands through Educating Communities

The Mongolian steppe is one of the world’s largest grassland and it is an arid to semiarid land with a strong climate gradient. Biodiversity loss leading to desertification and land degradation is estimated to be impacting around 65% of the total area of Mongolia. The preliminary objective of this project was to trial the Positive Deviance Methodology to determine if this method assists herders to design behaviors to reverse this biodiversity loss. This project is a partnership between Mongolian Herders, Mongolian rangeland scientists and Australian based Stipa Native Grasses Association. The Positive Deviance Methodology has five basic steps based around creating the conditions that allow the local community to identify practices, develop solutions and create benchmarks and monitor progress. This project focuses on allowing herders to design regenerative practices and behaviors. Baseline monitoring, meetings and interviews were used to define the current practices for summer and winter grazing areas. Separate degradation mechanisms were identified for the different areas. Descriptions of outcomes from regenerating practices, high landscape function and perennial grass diversity, were clearly in the memories of older herders and in verbal history of younger herders and allowed the identification of temporal positive deviants. Herder meetings were then held so that the local community could start investigating the design and development of activities that would expand and amplify possible solutions. Herder initiated practice change was recorded after one herder meeting.