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Title: Implementing a resilience‐based management system in Mongolia's rangelands

A primary challenge in advancing sustainability in rangelands and drylands is the lack of governance systems that are linked to information about highly variable ecosystem conditions. Here, we describe the national‐scale implementation of a resilience‐based management system in the rangelands of Mongolia. The system comprises several interacting elements. Land type‐specific information about rangeland conditions was captured in vegetation state‐and‐transition models (STMs) that allow interpretation of monitoring data and locally tailored restoration recommendations. Rangeland monitoring systems based on standardized protocols were developed and have been adopted by national government agencies, which provide annual, high‐quality data on rangeland conditions on which to base and adjust management decisions. Rangeland use agreements between local governments and herders' collective organizations, called Pasture Users' Groups, define their respective rights and responsibilities and introduce economic and policy incentives for management changes. Pasture Users' Groups also provide a platform for information sharing and collective action. Rangeland condition data and other indicators are linked to the Responsible Nomads product traceability system that provides consumers and industry a means to associate products with sustainable rangeland management practices. The collaboration between national agencies, international donors, scientists, and herders has been essential to initial success, but longer term support and monitoring will be needed to assess whether the adoption of resilience‐based management leads to positive social and ecological outcomes. We draw generalizations and lessons learned from this effort, which can lead to the successful implementation of new management systems across global rangelands.

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National Science Foundation
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