Ecosystem Science in Mongolia: Past Research and Future Prospects Under a Regime of Increasing Environmental Impacts
Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
308, Baltimore Convention Center
Bazartseren Boldgiv, National University of Mongolia
Olaf Jensen, Rutgers University; and
Barbara Hayford, Wayne State College
Mongolia is a large country located between the east Palaearctic and Oriental Biogeographic Regions, thus forming a transition between taiga forests in the north to the Gobi Desert in the south. This landlocked country is characterized by diverse ecosystems ranging from desert steppe to alpine, from grasslands to large rivers, and is home to a rare ancient lake. Mongolia has the lowest population density in Asia and a long history of pastoral land use resulting in relatively low environmental impacts. Wildlife extirpated or found in low numbers in other parts of Asia are still conserved in Mongolia including snow leopards, Siberian cranes, Saiga antelope, taimen, and Mongolian gazelle. However, Mongolia’s ecosystems face growing threats from human activities. Air temperatures in Mongolia have been warming more than three times faster than the global average. Global markets for minerals and cashmere drive increasing human impacts even in the most remote parts of the country. This special session will facilitate a discussion about ecology across ecotones and from a variety of perspectives spanning disciplines such as landscape and range ecology, biogeography, the study of social-ecological systems, biological assessment and monitoring, aquatic ecology, and biodiversity studies. The goals of the session are to (1) get people who are interested in ecology and environment in Mongolia together and exchange ideas; and (2) find common themes of past research and set the stage for future research. A key outcome of this session will be a consensus policy statement directed to Mongolian government officials.