~ Publication details ~

Reading, R., M. Johnstad, S. Amgalanbaatar, Z. Batjargal, and H. Mix. 1999. Expanding Mongolia’s system of protected areas. Natural Areas Journal 19:211-222.

Abstract - Mongolia is rapidly expanding its system of protected areas, which as of late 1997, included 38 reserves covering 17.1 million ha-almost 11% of the country. Mongolia faces several significant environmental threats, including mining, deforestation, off-road vehicles use, pollution, rapid human population growth, expanding livestock numbers, poaching and rapid socioeconomic and cultural change associated with the recent shift from communism to a free-market democracy. To generate recommendations for expanding Mongolia’s protected areas system, we relied upon a clear set of priorities, an interdisciplinary approach, multiple methods, and extensive fieldwork and contact wit local people, and we backed up establishment with capacity-building through training. Our objective was to encompass representatives of the nation’s major ecological zones and protect the greatest number of species possible. Expansion becomes increasingly difficult once the least controversial sites have received protection, but if Mongolia hoes to achieve its goal of protecting 30% of its territory, it must create additional protected areas, expand existing reserves, increase the types of possible protected areas, and create habitat corridors and buffer zones. Several challenges remain, but the growing network of protected areas bodes well for regional flora and fauna, especially if it is accompanied by more effective conservation management and ongoing financial and technical support from within and outside Mongolia.

Publisher - Natural Areas Association

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