1 Introduction</h5> Grasslands occupy about 50% of Earth's terrestrial surface (and 38% of the Asian continent). They are generally characterized by single-stratum vegetation structures dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants. They provide about 70% of the forage for domesticated livestock globally ( Brown and Thorpe, 2008 ). In the semiarid and arid grasslands of the world, such as Africa and Inner Asia, migrations over long distances have been a particularly important livelihood adaptation strategy of pastoralists living with a highly variable climate and vegetation productivity ( Fernandez-Giménez and Le Febre, 2006; Humphrey and Sneath, 1999; Mwangi, 2007 ). For centuries, traditional institutions like flexible property boundaries and reciprocal use of pastures have allowed pastoralists to use pastures efficiently and to cope with frequent climate hazards. Those institutions have evolved over centuries and are well suited to the biophysical characteristics of the local environment. Grasslands are the dominant ecosystem types on the Mongolian plateau, including most parts of Mongolia and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), China. About 84% (1.26 million km 2 ) and 66% (0.78 million km 2 ) of the total areas of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, respectively, are classified as grasslands ( Angerer et
Global Environmental Change – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2013
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