Environment and Ecology

Mongolia environmental issues research guide

This research guide is intended to help guide researchers and students through the resources related to Mongolian environmental issues. This guide focuses in particular on the resources available through the American Center for Mongolian Studies’ (ACMS) library. However, the descriptions of materials and electronic resources will be useful even to researchers without access to the ACMS library collection. As much of today’s important scientific research is presented in journal articles rather than books, users are encouraged to make particular use of the databases listed in this guide.

A note about language: This guide focuses primarily on English-language resources. However, many of the websites are available in Mongolian, as well. Also, I have included Mongolian-language only resources where no comparable source is available in English.

Sections include: general reference, web resources, databases, books (e-books/print), and field guides.

General reference:
Encyclopedia of the Earth -- This a free, expert-reviewed compilation of articles on a wide range of environmental topics, including mining, environmental law and policy, and biodiversity conservation.

Web resources:
“Climate Change and Biodiversity” program, Mongolian-German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
As well as including an overview of the GTZ’s program goals and activities (both past and present), this website includes a relatively short list of GTZ publications and a more extensive list of project documents, concept papers, studies, etc. Of particular interest may be a selection of Mongolian laws and policy papers and standards related to the environment. Also of note are bird counts from various years and literature on community based natural resource management. Publication language varies between English, Mongolian, and German.  

National Red List for Mongolia
This site includes a site page for Mongolia which groups all of the red list species found in Mongolia onto a single page. However, it provides the disclaimer, “This site contains national and regional Red Lists from around the world as well as species action plans. It is not a part of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The assessments on this site that follow the IUCN Categories and Criteria are not necessarily endorsed by IUCN.”  
In addition to the standard text searching by taxonomy and keyword, this site also provides a <a href=”http://www.nationalredlist.org/geog_search/geog_search.html”>useful tool for searching via a map interface</a>. You can search within a specified radius of a point defined either by entering a specific coordinate or clicking on the map.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Contains the official IUCN Red List entries. Although this site does not contain a specific page for Mongolia, you can narrow your search to Mongolia relatively easily. On the homepage click on the “Other Search Options” button next to the simple search bar. This will open up an advanced search where you can limit your search by a variety of factors (including taxonomy, keyword, habitat, etc.). Mongolia is located under Locations-->Land Regions-->East Asia. <a href=”http://www.iucnredlist.org/technical-documents/spatial-data”>Spatial datasets</a> organized by taxonomic groups (in shapefile format) are available for about 28,000 species.

Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia
This organization’s website (last updated in 2010, so its currentness is questionable) contains interesting information about the organizations programs and activities, all of which relate to birds (even though the group’s name does not reflect this). The publications list includes a mix of works produced by the WSCC itself and by other organizations, as well as a bibliography of relevant papers and articles. Of particular interest is the listing of <a href=”http://www.wscc.org.mn/iba.html”>Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Mongolia</a> which includes an index map and links to pdf factsheets for each of the seventy IBAs identified in Mongolia. The WSCC has also produced spatial datasets of the boundaries and centerpoints of Mongolia’s IBAs, available in several formats.

Mongolian Society for Range Management
This site contains current news, descriptions of projects, a list of publications, and freely available reports, socio-economic study of herders, and a rangeland management database

National Air Quality Office of Mongolia
Although this website seems to have only been updated in January 2008, it has a good bibliography of climate change and air quality related publications.

National Academies Press (NAP)
The entire catalog of the NAP (which publishes reports from the United States’ National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council) is available for free web-browsing and download in pdf format. This collection includes over 4,000 titles with approximately 200 new titles published every year.
NAP titles of particular relevance to Mongolian environmental issues include:

Online Access to Research in the Environment
The ACMS library needs to register for free access to this database.

This database indexes over 150 bioscience journals which cover topics ranging from global warming to ecological and biodiversity conservation, as well as more traditional biological studies. It can be freely searched from any computer with internet access. Full-text articles are available for free download when you access the database from the ACMS library’s computers.

Books in the ACMS Library:
Mongolia's wild heritage : Mongolyn unagan bayigaliiin uv : biological diversity, protected areas, and conservation in the land of Chingis Khaan
This short book (42 pages) provides a general introduction to Mongolia’s ecology, biodiversity, and natural zones. In addition to giving an overview of Mongolia’s current system of Protected Areas and conservation, it also gives illustrated descriptions of some of Mongolia’s most prominent Protected Areas. Although brief and with an overt mission of promoting more conservation efforts, the book provides a helpful overview.

Biological diversity in Mongolia : first national report : global environment facility
This report outlines the current status of biodiversity conservation in Mongolia. It discusses the socio-economic and climatic causes of loss of biodiversity, as well as the protection, use, and restoration of fauna and flora. The report concludes with an outline of the steps that Mongolia planned to take to preserve biodiversity, including sections on institutional strengthening, the protected areas network, and public education.

Conservation and wild life in Mongolia, by O. Namnandorj. Edited by Henry Field
This book provides a brief introduction to the land and natural reserves of Mongolia. Perhaps more useful than the text, though, is the bibliography of articles and books on topics of Mongolian natural history.

Beyond great walls : environment, identity, and development on the Chinese grasslands of Inner Mongolia / Dee Mack Williams
This book looks at environmental issues in Inner Mongolia as a result of land tenure changes. It discusses briefly the historical and in greater depth the evolving contemporary relationships between Inner Mongolian pastoralists and sedentary Han farmers. It also links Mongolian relationships to nature and the land with discussion of identity and environment. Although it doesn’t appear anywhere explicitly in the title, really this book centers on issues of identity and negotiation surrounding land, and what implications this holds for Inner Mongolia.

Culture and environment in inner Asia / edited by Caroline Humphrey and David Sneath (2 volumes)
This two volume edited work is perhaps a seminal work investigating the relationship of Inner Asian culture with the surrounding natural environment. The first volume, titled “The pastoral economy and the environment,” explores...
The second volume (titled “Society and culture”), shifts to focus on the ways contemporary societal changes affected the interactions of Inner Asian cultures with the natural environment, and their guiding beliefs about these interactions.
Although the work encompasses all of Inner Asia--including Mongolia in its entirety, as well as parts of China (Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang) and Russia (Tuva, Burtyatia)--the individual chapters focus almost exclusively on Chinese and Russian parts of Inner Asia.

Open Symposium on "Change and Sustainability of Pastoral Land Use Systems in Temperate and Central Asia", Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 28-July 1, 2001 : papers / editors, Togtokhyn Chuluun and Dennis Ojima
There are two volumes associated with this conference. The first is a collection of abstracts, whereas the second contains full papers. Not all of the abstracts have associated full papers. Topics covered include climatic factors, changes in ecosystem integrity, human environment interaction, and integrated analysis of Land Use and Land Cover Change (LUCC).

People and the environment : approaches for linking household and community surveys to remote sensing and GIS / edited by Jefferson Fox ... [et al.]

Program of land protection and rational land use policy for Mongolia's Lake Hovsgol-Selenge River watershed
(Note: the cataloging states the languages incorrectly. The text is given in Mongolian and English, not Russian and English)
Published in 1994, this document provides an interesting historical look at land management and planning strategies developed immediately following the democratic revolution.

Mongolyn bėlchėėriĭn mal azh akhuĭn ėdiĭn zasgiĭn kholbogdoltoĭ nom zu̇ĭ / [︠T︡Sėrėnsonomyn Su̇khbaatar ... (et al.) ; kh︠i︡anan tokhiolduulsan, ︠T︡S. Gombosu̇rėn, B. Mȯnkhsoël]
A bibliography compiled by the Open Society Forum of works published about Mongolian animal husbandry and pastoral systems. Most entries are for Mongolian-language works, but it also includes a few English-language works. Mongolian text.

Environment and development issues in Mongolia.
This collection of articles by Dr. Ts. Adiyasuren, a former Minister for Nature and the Environment of Mongolia, addresses issues of sustainable development and environmental change in Mongolia. Topics of particular interest include a historical overview of Mongolia’s national park system and a discussion of drought and desertification.

Transhumant grazing systems in temperate Asia / edited by J.M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds
This work published by the FAO presents a series of Asian case studies of transhumant (nomadic) grazing systems including those in Mongolia, China (including Tibet), India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and the western Himalaya. Two case studies are presented on Mongolia: a study on long-distance nomadic grazing systems carried out from 1999-2000 in Uvs and Khuvsgul aimags, and a study of haymaking from natural pasture in Arkhangai aimag.

Selected field guides:
Монгол орны сээртэн амьтдын нэрсийн толь / Бодонгууд овогт С□ндэвийн Гомбобаатар = A dictionary of vertebrate animals of Mongolia / Gombobaatar Sundev Bodonguud
This dictionary includes all 706 vertebrate species recorded in Mongolia, including fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Each species’ name is listed in an impressive nine languages. These include: Latin, Mongolian, English, Russian, German, French, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. Nearly a quarter of the entries are illustrated with photographs.

Flowers of Hustai National Park
Although this field guide is ostensibly for the flowers of Hustai National Park it could be reasonably used as a guide to the flowers of Mongolia’s mountain-steppe zone more generally. It is organized helpfully by petal color, with an index at the back if you already know the name of the flower. Each entry includes the Latin, Mongolian, and English names, as well as the Latin and English families. The entries also include growth and botanical characteristics, habitat, and economic uses. A distribution map and photos also accompany each entry.

Plant atlas of Dundgovi aimag
This site is available in both English and Mongolian. It provides a general description accompanied by maps of Dundgovi aimag’s geography, pasture conditions, and vegetation. The bulk of the site, however, are listings of individual species. Each species has a dedicated page which includes a description, distribution in Mongolia as a whole as well as within Dundgovi (including a distribution map), growing conditions, and uses. Species are organized into  alphabetical and family lists, and are also grouped by type of use (food, medicinal, pasture, etc.). The Mongolian-language atlas includes both the Latin and Mongolian names for the plants.

This is a subpage of the Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Math page, which you should also consult.

 Prepared by Susan Powell(ACMS library fellowship student - 2011)