Theme 1: Rangeland/Grassland Ecology--Oral Sessions

Description

Mongolians are aware that rangeland degradation is accelerating due to the combination of unsustainable use and drought events, but the natural recovery of degraded rangeland and timelines for recovery are less well studied. In this paper, we describe the use of “recovery class” concepts in rangeland classification that are being used to evaluate rangeland condition and management impacts across Mongolia. Recovery classes are analogous to degradation classes already used in Mongolia, but are based on ecological site descriptions (ESDs) and provide information about expected recovery rates based on quantitative measurements. While the degradation levels communicate the severity of plant community departure from reference conditions, the recovery classes communicate the management needs and timelines for recovery. According to the national report of Mongolian rangeland health, as of 2015, 65 percent of Mongolian rangelands was altered to some degree. Plant community composition, however, indicates that in more than half of sampled areas, changes to grazing management could result in recovery, or progress toward recovery, within ten years. Fifteen percent of nationwide rangeland health monitoring plots had evidence of recovery within 2 years between 2014-2016 and shifted to a more desirable state of their respective State and Transition models.

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Mongolian Rangelands Have a Great Potential for Natural Recovery

Mongolians are aware that rangeland degradation is accelerating due to the combination of unsustainable use and drought events, but the natural recovery of degraded rangeland and timelines for recovery are less well studied. In this paper, we describe the use of “recovery class” concepts in rangeland classification that are being used to evaluate rangeland condition and management impacts across Mongolia. Recovery classes are analogous to degradation classes already used in Mongolia, but are based on ecological site descriptions (ESDs) and provide information about expected recovery rates based on quantitative measurements. While the degradation levels communicate the severity of plant community departure from reference conditions, the recovery classes communicate the management needs and timelines for recovery. According to the national report of Mongolian rangeland health, as of 2015, 65 percent of Mongolian rangelands was altered to some degree. Plant community composition, however, indicates that in more than half of sampled areas, changes to grazing management could result in recovery, or progress toward recovery, within ten years. Fifteen percent of nationwide rangeland health monitoring plots had evidence of recovery within 2 years between 2014-2016 and shifted to a more desirable state of their respective State and Transition models.