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University of Kassel (2016)

Herd management and livestock productivity in the Altai region of Western Mongolia

Tsevegmed, Munkhnasan

Titre : Herd management and livestock productivity in the Altai region of Western Mongolia

Auteur : Tsevegmed, Munkhnasan

Université de soutenance : University of Kassel

Grade : Doktor der Agrarwissenschaften (Dr. agr.) 2016

Résumé
This thesis analyses the influence of qualitative and quantitative herbage production on seasonal rangelands, and of herd and pasture use strategies on feed intake, body mass development and reproductive performance of sheep and goats in the Altai mountain region of Bulgan county (soum) in Khovd province (aimag). This westernmost county of Mongolia is characterized by a very poor road network and thus very difficult access to regional and national markets. The thesis explores in this localized context the current rural development, the economic settings and political measures that affect the traditional extensive livestock husbandry system and its importance for rural livelihoods. Livestock management practices still follow the traditional transhumant mode, fully relying on natural pasture. This renders animal feeding very vulnerable to the highly variable climatic conditions which is one of many reasons for gradually declining quantity and quality of pasture vegetation. Small ruminants, and especially goats, are the main important species securing economic viability of their owners’ livelihood, and they are well adapted to the harsh continental climate and the present low input management practices. It is likely that small ruminants will keep their vital role for the rural community in the future, since the weak local infrastructure and slow market developments currently do not allow many income diversification options. Since the profitability of a single animal is low, animal numbers tend to increase, whereas herd management does not change. Possibilities to improve the current livestock management and thus herders’ livelihoods in an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable manner are simulated through bio-economic modelling and the implications are discussed at the regional and national scale. To increase the welfare of the local population, a substantial infrastructural and market development is needed, which needs to be accompanied by suitable pasture management schemes and policies

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