Izuru Saizen a, Ai Maekawa b, Norio Yamamura b
Livestock distribution in Mongolia;Spatial clusters;Local indicator of spatial associations;Grassland management
The rapid change in the livestock population in Mongolia since the beginning of the 1990s has been a very important issue in terms of the sustainable management of grasslands. We investigated the spatial distribution and changes in the populations of Mongolian livestock for the years 1992, 1999, 2002, and 2006 using GIS datasets based on administrative units. Although the total livestock population had changed drastically owing to the shift from a planned economy to a free market economy from 1992 to 1999 and 2002 to 2006 – as well as the impact of the dzud, an adverse combination of summer drought followed by a harsh winter, between 1999 and 2002 – no significant change in the spatial association of any livestock other than goats was detected by the local indicators of spatial autocorrelation (LISA) statistics. Goats were the only animals to show a significant change in their spatial association, and the goat population is increasing in areas surrounded by a high density of livestock. Considering that of all Mongolian domestic animals, goats have the greatest impact on grasslands, policy makers should pay attention to these areas to ensure the sustainability of grasslands in the future. This could play a key role in the successful application of environmental management in Mongolia.