Herders play essential roles in sustaining Mongolia’s economy and rangeland conditions. As about 90% of Mongolia’s livestock grazes on natural pasture, how herders manage it largely affects the future sustainability of the livestock industry. Since Mongolia transformed its grazing practices from communal management into loosely regulated household practices in 1990, overgrazing has become a growing concern. Considering this concern, this paper examines the extent to which traditional and non-traditional herders perceive pasture conditions and practice management. We conducted the questionnaire survey among 120 herders in Murun Soum of Khentii Province and asked about rangeland degradation and their coping strategies. To determine correlations between their perceptions/practices and sociodemographic characteristics, we conducted multiple regression analyses. We found that, overall, most herders identified rangeland conditions degrading and grass yield declining with less plant diversity and more soil damage by Brandt’s vole. Herders’ mobility and herd movement frequency have decreased since 1990, placing more strains on limited pasture areas. In coping with overgrazing, about 20% of the respondents had practiced traditional rangeland management, whereas many others had overlooked pasture conditions and increased goat production as the world’s demand for cashmere rose. In response to our question about herders’ future contribution of their traditional knowledge to sustainable rangeland management, traditional herders demonstrated their willingness to help local officials manage the pasture. This paper then explores how local administrations and herders may collaborate in the future.
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