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Capacity Building for Mongolian MEGDT: Biodiversity and Conservation in the southern Gobi Desert

by Christin VanZant last modified Oct 03, 2016 09:27 PM
Contributors: The Nature Conservancy: Conservation Gateway
The Mongolian Gobi region is part of the largest steppe ecosystem in the world that supports its historic wildlife assemblage, including long distance wildlife migrations, as well as traditional nomadic pastoralism. The region currently supports 33 animals listed as nationally threatened or endangered, including the world’s largest remaining populations of Khulan (Equus hemionus), Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa), Goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) and Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica).

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The wildlife and pastoral livelihoods of this area are threatened by rapid growth in mining and related infrastructure. Mining development in the Gobi region is occurring faster than the national trend. In 2012, 24% of the area had been leased for exploration and another 32% available for lease. The largest active projects include the Nariin Sukhait / Ovoot Tolgoi coal mine, the Tavan Tolgoi (TT) coal mines and the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper mine. Though the direct impacts of mining on land and water are significant and can reach far beyond the mine site, an urgent threat to wide-ranging wildlife is created by transportation infrastructure and traffic to support mining operations that create barriers to movement. Mitigating the impacts of these rapid developments on South Gobi biodiversity is an urgent priority for the government of Mongolia, but addressing these issues has been constrained by a lack of biological data at regional and local scales, cooperative data sharing, and landscape scale assessments. The purpose of this project was to help facilitate and coordinate these efforts and to assist the Mongolian Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism (MEGDT) in building their internal capacity to manage these issues.

 

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