Student ResearcherNinjin Gankhuleg '23, Major: Data Science, Minor: Mathematics.
Faculty MentorErica Garroutte
The vast grasslands of Mongolia support globally important wildlife species and sustain the livelihoods and rich culture of Mongolia’s nomadic herding communities. Dramatic increases in livestock, more frequent droughts, shifts in the socioeconomic status of herding livelihoods, and land degradation caused by the expansion of mining are threatening the persistence of Mongolia’s wildlife and natural resources and the sustainable livelihoods of nomadic herder communities. This impact is especially pronounced on the sparse water resources in the arid Grassland Steppe and Gobi Desert ecosystems that sustain wildlife populations and provide the resources needed to support livestock husbandry, health, and productivity.
Taking an integrative One Health approach, Ninjin worked with nomadic herders and Mongolian scientists to better understand how overgrazing, mining, and climate change are influencing the water resource availability and quality across the landscape and the cascading impacts of water resource degredation on the health of livestock and the livelihoods of nomadic herders in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in Dorongobi Province of Mongolia. This project included social science surveys exploring the perceptions and knowledge of herders about the impacts of depleting water resources and solutions for promoting the resilience of these resources and ecological surveys exploring the spatial patterns of water availability and quality and the potential ecological impacts and drivers of water resource availability.