Economic Issues

  • With the 1990 collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia moved almost overnight to a market-driven economy. Larger herds lead to changes in pastoral husbandry.

  • The Cashmere market strengthened, which led to goats being kept as the main livestock species. Goats eat grasses to the roots and cause more damage than the traditional mixed herds of Camel, Horse, Yak, Sheep and Goat.

  • Cashmere market fluctuations means that herders need to keep more livestock to achieve the same level of income and thereby “ride out” the market downturns.

  • Market over-reliance on cashmere caused drops in the market of products from other livestock types: Example:  camel hair market crash results in camel being slaughtered for meat.

  • An increase in the black market price paid for wildlife leads to an upturn in poaching, which in turn leads to the apex predators having less wild prey and becoming more inclined to target domestic livestock.

  • Increased mining jobs lead to herders relying more on cash currency rather than traditional bartering.

  • Migration from the steppes to the cities for employment results in fewer herders and loss of knowledge and traditional way of life.

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