The international list of climate change mitigation factors includes the conservation and improvement of rangelands, highlighting the enormous potential of rangelands to increase soil carbon sequestration. Mongolian Society for Range Management (MSRM) is aware of the international recognition of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and intends to use the huge potential of increasing carbon storage in the soil and selling it in the voluntary carbon market by improving pasture and livestock management.
In line with this, in 2010, our Association contacted Andreas Wilkes and Tim Tennickeit, who are implementing the project of storing carbon in the soil and selling it on the market in Inner Mongolia, and offered to implement such a project in Mongolia. This proposal was supported and financed by the Swiss Development Agency, and the above two experts were invited to Mongolia through the Ministry of Education and Culture, and they were introduced to the implementation of the Green Gold Project, especially the implementation of the Pasture User Group (PUG) system, and conducted a background study.
As a result of such research, it is possible to increase the productivity of pastures by carrying out activities such as rotating degraded pastures, resting them, making hay, restoring the vegetation of abandoned fields, creating reserve pastures, planting trees, shrubs, and forage perennials. A preliminary estimate was made that the 580,000 hectares of pastures in the three sums included in this study could absorb 180,000 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the air into the soil. This shows that Mongolia has a great potential to mitigate climate change and reduce global warming. If combined with other activities such as increasing the productivity of livestock and improving the sale of products, increasing the amount of carbon stored in the soil and selling it to the market, it will be of great importance to improve the lives of herders and improve their ability to adapt to climate change.
At the international level, such a project earns 2-8 US dollars (12-30 US dollars in the retail market) per ton of CO2 absorbed from the air into the soil.
In continuation of the above-mentioned research, a two-year (2011-2012) detailed research project called “Connecting herders to the carbon market” based on the PUG system has started. The SDC is financing this project with 800,000 Swiss francs. The main implementer of the project is “Unique forestry consultants GmbH” in Germany.
(1) Developing methods that meet the requirements of the international carbon market that can be used by Mongolian stakeholders to foster sustainable grassland management with the support of carbon financing
(2) Two key products will be produced to help policy makers develop policy options for grassland management that are less vulnerable to climate change.
From January 2011 to December 2012, or two years, the following results will be released. It includes:
- Stakeholders will choose the most feasible Soum to implement the Project on, that is mutually agreed upon and, in their interests
- Develop methods for evaluating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
- We will develop a scenario for the production and sale of livestock products that will provide economic benefits
- The project will be developed in such a way that the risk and negative impact on the society is minimal
- On the basis of the approval of project development documents, the Agreement for the sale of Gas Emission Reduction will be signed,
- Analyze smart policy options for climate-resilient rangeland management that would help policymakers
These targets are formulated according to the key documents required to register for the financing of carbon sequestration in the voluntary market. In producing these results, high-quality supplementary research will be conducted and international expert advice will be sought. At the end of this project, the preparation of a long-term project to finance the carbon sequestration of grassland soils will be provided.
Currently, according to the plan of a separate project implementation unit in Mongolia, experts and researchers of the MSRM have compared the soil, vegetation, animal husbandry, social and economic conditions of the three villages according to the selection criteria, and have developed a proposal to select the Tariat village of Arkhangai Province. In general, scientists from ADB, the Swiss College of Agriculture, and relevant institutions in Mongolia will participate in the preparatory research work for this project.