A man made oasis -basis for sustainable growth in Gobi desert

June 19, 2017

Mongolia Placeholder
Mongolia

A man made oasis -basis for sustainable growth in Gobi desert

About the Implementing organization

Name: Bayan Dukhum Cooperative

Country: Mongolia

Year of establishment: 2005

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization

Description

The Taats River Restoration is addressing climate solutions for the Gobi drylands in many ways. Livestock fodder production reduces vulnerability. It is also mitigative as any cultivation, grass, bush and forest land protection that restores and conserves biomass and soil. The cooperative has worked on livestock breed improvement, another adaptive measure. Their agroforestry experiments are valuable lessons learnt for Gobi communities to maintain ground cover while producing crops and fodder. Members have also ventured into new experiments on bio-fuel thus making a contribution to reduce carbon emissions. Their recent bio-compost project is the latest innovation to increase productivity and thereby resilience. The ancient local barley variety grown by the cooperative is popular for its unique taste. Already endowed with a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge of the Gobi ecosystem, the community has gained new knowledge to adapt to the fast change that their land is undergoing. Growing Lucerne and preparing silage are new techniques they have adopted.

Nature Element

Drylands

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

    

Environmental Impacts

The Taats River is an important feature of the desert ecosystem in Mongolia’s Gobi. Originating in the Khangai Mountains of Central Mongolia, it drains into Tsaagan Nuur, one of four lakes in the “Valley of Lakes”. As a designated Ramsar Site (No. 954), the “Valley of Lakes” is recognized as a wetland of international importance. The waterbodies are known to be an important staging area for migratory waterfowl. The wildlife of the Gobi lakes valley consists mainly of species adapted to desert/semi-desert habitats and wetlands, its biodiversity includes several species of insect endemic to Mongolia. The soils of the valley are extremely vulnerable to desertification. The Taats River restoration initiative makes an important contribution in the protection of this landscape that was delineated by WWF Mongolia as an ecoregion for its important biodiversity values. The ecoregion is described as “vulnerable” and without adequate formal protection.

Sustainable Development Impacts

The sales of grains and flour, of fruits and berries and derived products, as well as dairy and vegetables have become additional livelihood strategies. Member household incomes have increased around 20 %. The locally grown products contribute to food security and enhance the of the herder families’ diets. The supplemental livestock fodder provides nutrition in critical winter and spring times, and enables better survival rates of young livestock. The cooperative now owns 14.5 hectares of hay and agroforestry fields, 70 heads of livestock bought with community funds, cash assets worth 3 Million Tughriks (1 US $ = 2470 Tg). To meet, promote their activity and celebrate, they build a 8x9 meter information centre. The cooperatives annual production has grown to 120 tons of hay, 80 tons of fodder, 35 tons of vegetables and potatoes, and 1 ton of barley flour. This represents about three quarters of the Soum’s agricultural product.

Scalability

The cooperative members exchange experiences on farming with local agricultural officers, the Bag Governor and the Province’s Food and Agricultural Department, and also work with the local state inspector on environment. Local government, professional organizations and donor funded programs have helped facilitate community exchanges and study tours to the cooperative to learn from their drylands agroforestry, their organizational development, risk and disaster management, and financial management that combine to make them so productive. In recognition of their successes, local policy development has supported Bayan-Dukhum Cooperative as an incentive for other groups. The fenced field that now bears 3000 trees of 5 species is under contractual possession of the cooperative.

Replicability

The Cooperative Bayan Dukhum is well known for its achievements & community level innovations not only at the soum level, but at the provincial level. It is one of the best examples in the country. The initiative they develop is fully replicable in at least two thirds of the Mongolian territory. Herder visitors often come to this place and learn more from Mr. Tumurchudur and his cooperative. There are also organized showcases on their achievements. Over the last two years the cooperative has taken an initiative to produce bio humus, using livestock manure. In 2016 Mr. Tumurchudur has trained over 30 herders of his province to make bio-humus with livestock manure. He says " I'm an ordinary livestock herder in living in Mongolian Gobi dessert. Climate change seems to be sever. We need to do a lot to save our Mother nature. Common efforts and cooperation are needed as never before. I will personally work for educating as many herders as possible and make them follow us".

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