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Geographers from the University of Leicester have partnered with pastoralists in Mongolia to produce participatory ecosystem service-based (PES) approaches to livelihood and conservation challenges.



Mongolia is experiencing one of the highest rates of global warming. Extreme weather events have led to the loss of 10,000,000 livestock (2009–2010: 25% of the national herd), with devastating impacts on herders’ livelihoods and resilience.



This research project was the first to successfully complete ecosystem service based evaluation of herders’ diverse values and priorities.

The research generated Mongolia’s first community-based rangelands PES scheme, ‘Pastures, Conservation and Climate Action, Mongolia’ (PCCA).



As a result of this work, herders’ have been more directly involved in community-based conservation. Incentivised activities have included forest clean-ups, planting of seedlings (approximately 500 in one community), and protection of local wildlife such as argali, ibex, gazelle, marmot, and red deer populations.

PCCA activities have enabled some 100,000 tonnes of CO2 to be sequestered in rangelands. PCCA activities have yielded some USD250,000, which has been shared amongst participating herding communities based on links to voluntary carbon markets.

These financial benefits constitute significant sums for poor households, for whom annual incomes in 2015 were less than USD6,000. Recent choices by herding communities to set up micro loan funds with PCCA money have also enabled herders to spread risks throughout the year.

The research has been integral to the development of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance’s Sustainable Cashmere Standard, implemented amongst cashmere producers across Mongolia.


More information 

Institution: University of Leicester

Researchers: Professor Caroline Upton

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How to cite

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Conservation, Livelihoods and Environmental Futures: Improving Policy and Practice in Mongolia. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>