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Socio-ecological Interactions in a Changing Climate: A Review of the Mongolian Pastoral System

Asian Demographic Research Institute, Shanghai University, No. 333 Nanchen Road, Baoshan District, Shanghai 200444, China
Environmental Systems and Engineering, School of Science and Engineering, Meisei University, 29-1006, 2-1-1 Hodokubo, Hino, Tokyo 191-8506, Japan
Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, 79-7 Tokiwadai, Hodogaya, Yokohama 240-8501, Japan
Tree Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1-M1-6 O-okayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5883;
Received: 24 September 2019 / Revised: 18 October 2019 / Accepted: 22 October 2019 / Published: 23 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
Coping with climate change in socio-ecological systems is one of the most urgent issues facing the world. This is particularly true in socio-ecological systems, where climate not only influences social and ecosystem dynamics, but also modulates their interaction. In this paper, we presented a conceptual framework through a literature review and a trend analysis for assessing the impact of climate change that incorporates socio-ecological interactions. In particular, we focused on the Mongolian pastoral system, which has tightly coupled socio-ecological interactions, as a model for describing the framework. Our framework suggests that the flexibility in mobility of herders is the principal factor in determining the vulnerability of the socio-ecological system to climate change. The flexibility varies along a climatic gradient and socio-ecological interactions in each region have evolved to be suited to its local climate regime. Herders in northern and central regions of Mongolia move shorter distances, and less flexible, than those in southern (Gobi) region. Climatic hazards, on the other hand have been increasing across Mongolia with a trend toward warmer and drier conditions since the 1960s. We suggest that further warming and drying would have the greatest impact on northern and central regions due to lower flexibility in mobility among herders there coupled with the much higher livestock density in the regions. The findings support that maintaining flexibility of mobile herding will likely be crucial to reducing the vulnerability of the Mongolian pastoral system to climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; exposure; flexibility; hazard; pastoralism; vulnerability drought; exposure; flexibility; hazard; pastoralism; vulnerability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kakinuma, K.; Yanagawa, A.; Sasaki, T.; Rao, M.P.; Kanae, S. Socio-ecological Interactions in a Changing Climate: A Review of the Mongolian Pastoral System. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5883.

AMA Style

Kakinuma K, Yanagawa A, Sasaki T, Rao MP, Kanae S. Socio-ecological Interactions in a Changing Climate: A Review of the Mongolian Pastoral System. Sustainability. 2019; 11(21):5883.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kakinuma, Kaoru, Aki Yanagawa, Takehiro Sasaki, Mukund P. Rao, and Shinjiro Kanae. 2019. "Socio-ecological Interactions in a Changing Climate: A Review of the Mongolian Pastoral System" Sustainability 11, no. 21: 5883.

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