The Mongolian Pastoralist and the Commons : Issues in Pasture Degradation and Sustainable Solutions
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This study offers an overview of the situation of Mongolia's mobile pastoralists and the issue of land rights in the sustainability of the pastoral commons there. A brief history of the country of Mongolia is followed by a history of the mobile pastoralists themselves to offer insight into the development of the management of the commons over time. The paper goes on to examine the problems currently facing the pastoral commons and the reasons for their degradation in the form of desertification, declining water tables and the destructive drought and dzud that have recently brought untold hardship to Mongolia's herders. Finally the main contention of the paper is discussed in a detailed analysis of the history of land tenure regimes for Mongolia's commons and the critical role that land rights plays in any situation of non-private use. The conclusion is that neither the current system nor a system of strict land-tenure formalization is appropriate for the sustainable management of the commons. Rather, this paper contends that a system of rangeland co-management is needed in which collective action and community govern the commons with good governance and de facto rule sets imposed by local institutions as the foundations for success.