Market opportunities do not explain the ability of herders to meet livelihood objectives over winter on the Mongolian Plateau

Bai, Haihua, Yin, Yanting, Addison, Jane, Hou, Yulu, Wang, Linhe, and Hou, Xiangyang (2020) Market opportunities do not explain the ability of herders to meet livelihood objectives over winter on the Mongolian Plateau. Journal of Arid Land, 12 (2). pp. 522-537.

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Abstract

Drylands under pastoral land use are considered one of the most vulnerable social-ecological systems to global climate change, but the abilities of different adaptive strategies to adapt to the impacts of different extreme weather events on herders’ livelihood have received little attention in the drylands. Herders on the Mongolian Plateau (MP; including Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China and Mongolia), have had a long history of adapting climatic variability and extreme weather events. However, it is unclear how changes such as increased levels of infrastructure and market integration affect the ability of herders to achieve the two key livelihood objectives: the minimisation of the death and abortion rates of livestock in the winter. Here, we used remotely sensed and household survey data to map, model and explore the climate exposure and sensitivity of herders in the settled area (Inner Mongolia of China) and nomadic area (Mongolia) in the winter of 2012–2013. We aimed to quantify the multi-scaled characteristics of both climate exposure and sensitivity through the lens of key adaptive strategies utilized by herders. Our results showed that the higher levels of infrastructure and market integration, and the lower levels of remoteness on the MP did not increase the herders' ability to achieve the two key livelihood objectives. Our results also suggested that exposure to the snow that is comparatively greater than the long-term average (cumulative exposure) may be more important in determining the social-ecological vulnerability than absolute exposure. We suggested that neither the risk management strategies available to these herders, nor the demographic variables, could compensate for the mode of production governing the pastoral systems. Our study could provide further evidence for the complex and scaled nature of climate exposure and sensitivity, and the results imply that any analysis of the relationship between exposure, sensitivity and vulnerability of pastoral households to climate change in the drylands will require a multi-scaled and interdisciplinary approach.

Item ID: 63393
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2194-7783
Copyright Information: © Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020.
Funders: Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC), International Science and Technology Program of China (ISTPC)
Projects and Grants: CAAS Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program CAAS-ASTIP-2020-IGR-04, NNSFC 71774162, ISTPC 2016YFE0116400
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 22:37
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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