Herder Communities and Conservation
The Nature Conservancy partners with herders for community-led grassland management.
The Nature Conservancy is expanding our work in Mongolia from the Eastern Steppe to three new project sites in grassland areas of western, northern and eastern Mongolia.
The new demonstration projects will help communities sustainably manage natural resources important for herding and wildlife. We are helping herders to form community-based organizations that allow them to care for their land collectively, while providing opportunities for additional income from handicrafts and tourism.
For example, we have helped to train 105 women herders across Mongolia in felt-art handicrafts, using sustainably-sourced sheep wool. Felt from sheep wool is sustainable because sheep are less harmful to grasslands than goats, which rip grasses up from their roots rather than grazing the tops as sheep do.
Over the next two years, we will help these local women’s groups to establish businesses, modeled after the Conservancy’s “BeadWORKS” program in Kenya. Meanwhile, we will help to monitor the effects of changing herd compositions (that results from more sustainable wool development) on grassland health.