This paper presents results from an ecological assessment of land use and climate change in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Using a combination of fieldwork, rangeland monitoring, and simulation analyses, this study tackles the socio-economic issues faced by pastoralists in this region, focusing on linkages between climate, land use and human welfare. Employing a systems approach, we use the SAVANNA ecosystem simulation model to examine the long-term effects of anthropogenic pressures on the biophysical system. Our model demonstrates that in order to maintain grassland sustainability, climate variations must be considered by land managers making decisions on grazing. Our model indicates that traditional ways of nomadic herding, where nomads were able to move their herds in response to changing distributions of available forage, would be more adaptive in spatially and temporally variable climate and foraging conditions. In contrast, increased sedentarisation and restrictions on grazing movements imposed by political boundaries or fenced croplands may endanger sustainability by reducing options for adaptive grazing tactics. We suggest that new grazing systems must be developed to mitigate these changes in land use and land tenure.
- Ecosystem modeling
- Integrated assessment
- Land use change
- Sedentary and nomadic herding systems
ASJC Scopus subject areas