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University of Oxford (2009)

Nomadic geography : pastoral environments in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Sternberg Troy

Titre : Nomadic geography : pastoral environments in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Auteur : Troy Sternberg

Université de soutenance : University of Oxford

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2009

Résumé
Pastoralism on the Mongolian steppe encompasses limited physical resources and evolving anthropogenic influences. Little-studied, the Inner Asian region encounters changing climates, evolving land use practices, and socio-economic transition that impact the natural and human geography. This thesis investigates how bio-physical factors and herder action determine the pastoral environment in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. Research, focusing on drought, degradation and the extreme winter conditions that define pastoralism in Mongolia, examines pastoralists’ perception of and interaction with their environment. This approach highlights steppe ecological and social processes within the global dryland debate. Fieldwork in Omnogovi and Ovorhangai Province established that drought is endemic in the region. However, drought events were independent of extreme winter conditions and did not exacerbate their impact. Degradation was not found at water points as vegetation cover decreased with distance from water. While remote sensing showed a decline in vegetation cover over time, it did not establish desertification on the steppe. Changing physical, socio-economic, and political conditions since 1990 continue to impact Mongolian pastoralism. Environmental conditions, particularly water resources and pasture quality, were paramount herder concerns. This research showed that pastoralists are economically motivated, differentiate on multiple dimensions, and value communal land stewardship. On the steppe, traditional mobile livestock practices improve livelihoods and remain an effective management approach. However, the future of pastoralism is uncertain as herders settle, the population ages, and children become educated. Thesis results emphasize the interaction of physical and social environments will define pastoralism’s role in the Gobi Desert

Mots clés : Climatic changes : Droughts : Nomads : Pastoral systems : Vegetation and climate : Environmental conditions : Mongolia : Gobi Desert (Mongolia and China)

Présentation (EThOS)

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