This essay argues that an awareness of the historical relation- ships among land use, land tenure, and the political economy of Mongolia is essential to understanding current pastoral land use patterns and policies in Mongolia. Although pastoral land use patterns have altered over time in response to the changing political economy, mobility and flexibility remain hallmarks of sustainable grazing in this harsh and variable climate, as do the communal use and management of pasturelands. Recent changes in Mongolia’s political economy threaten the continued sustainability of Mongolian pastoral systems due to increasing poverty and declining mobility among herders and the weakening of both formal and customary pasture management institutions. The paper concludes by suggesting how history can inform current policy, and offering options for addressing current unsustainable pastoral land use patterns. A historical understanding of pastoral land use and land tenure should benefit consultants, policy-makers, and ultimately the herders and rangelands of Mongolia.
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We are a multi-faceted agency that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 43 states and Puerto Rico. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.