December 17, 2011

Overgrazing behind degradation of Mongolia’s grasslands

In a recent address to the nation's Parliament, cited in the online news provider China Network Television, Mongolia’s Deputy Minister for Food, Agriculture and Light Industry J. Saule stated that over 70% of the country’s grasslands had become degraded from illegal mining and overgrazing, with livestock numbers that had increased by more than 12 million since the 1990s.

At the same meeting, a Water Resource Department official said that due to extreme droughts caused by climate change, more than 1,000 of the country's rivers, lakes, and streams had disappeared.

The land condition known as desertification has also become a major problem for the Asian country, where the regions classified as being severely affected have increased by more than five times in the past ten years.

Our sincere thanks, Deputy Minister J. Saule and all officials who are raising awareness about these challenges of human-caused decline to our environment. May we hastily implement measures to protect Mongolia’s precious grasslands and renew the flourishing of our planet.

During an April 2011 videoconference in Mongolia, Supreme Master Ching Hai urged for the halting of livestock raising as a dual solution both to climate change and land degradation.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The Mongolian National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment Monitoring have identified livestock overgrazing as the most prevalent cause of land degradation which worsens desertification in your country.

And 70% of Mongolia’s land has already been affected by desertification. Meanwhile, more than half of the Mongolian people don’t have access to clean water. This is partly due to climate change, which is also impacting Mongolia with extreme weather disasters such as droughts, floods and heavy snowfall – heavy snowfalls you have experienced, yes? The number one cause of climate change is livestock breeding; we all know that by now.

So in our urgent situation of climate change, I think it would be more effective also, apart from the proposal that you made, we should stop the damage-inflicting activities such as livestock breeding.

Sources: CNTV, Mongolia Economy link 1,, Mongolia Economy link 2, FAO

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