The Importance of Forest User Groups’ in the protection of Mongolian Forest resource

Mongolia faces extrem weather conditions which are strengthened by climate change. This impacts the country’s forests with decreasing growth rates. In addition, wild fires, pests and anthropogenic activities are the main cause of forest. To understand the measures undertaken to protect forest funds, a discussion with different forest representatives and communities has be organized.

Mongolia faces extrem weather conditions which are strengthened by climate change. This impacts the country’s forests with decreasing growth rates. In addition, wild fires, pests and anthropogenic activities are the main cause of forest. To understand the measures undertaken to protect forest funds, a discussion with different forest representatives and communities has be organized.

INITIATION OF THE “UN-REDD” PROGRAMME

The total forest area of Mongolia is 19 million hectars. Hereof, the actual forested area is 13.2 million hectars which represents 8.5 percent of the overall territory. This percentage is low compared to the world average which makes Mongolia a forest deficient territory.

The “UN REDD National Programme to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation was initiated in January and will be completed by November 2018. It is an outcome of “Mongolia’s Preparation Plan for National REDD” approved by the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism (MET) in July 2014.

UN-REDD will support Mongolia reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and improving the national monitoring system. To strengthen the sustainability of the programme measures such as involving Civil Society Organizations (CSO), aligning relevant policies and strategies, and improving coordination are considered essential.

As the impact of climate change and desertification is increasing the Government of Mongolia is acting to protect and rehabilitate the forests with the cooperation of local authorities and communities. Some of the key players have shared their progress:

Forest protection is an obligation for each citizen”, Ts.Chuluunbaatar, Senior officer of the Forest Policy and Coordination Department, MET:

– The implementation of the Forest Protection Policy is a nationwide obligation and we are encouraging the engagement of all citizens in forest protection activities. The key parties for forest

protection, rehabilitation and utilization at the local level are FUGs, specialized organisations and the . Collaborating with FUGs has showed positive changes as they not only monitor and protect the forest but help managing the usage. They also facilitate the local implementation of the state policy. Of course there are issues with this system as specialized organizations are authorized to do logging to meet the demand but the forest resources belong to the area’s FUG. Our goal is to regulate those inconsistencies.

With the establishment of FUGs the number of forest crimes has decreased”, J.Otgonbuyan, Director of Forest Office, Environment and Tourism Department of Tuv province

– Our province comprises 1300 ha of forests of which 17% is under the status of protected area. Our department is providing support to the province’s 136 FUGs to protect and utilize forests. The forest area where logging and manufacturing are permitted is small and in the protected area logging for household usage can only be approved by the Citizen Representative’s Meeting decree. Nowadays, thanks to increased public knowledge about ecosystem, patrolling and the fencing of the area, crimes in forested areas have decreased.

“There is an opportunity to cooperate with mining companiesN.Baasanjargal, private sector Director of “Khukh durvuljin” wood processing company:

– FUGs engaged in the nursery face with many challenges because of limited market. As a result, unmarketable plants are planted in the forests for reproduction. Collaboration with mining companies could solve this issue as they could purchase those unmarketable plants from the FUGs and use them in the scope of forest rehabilitation and land restoration activities. To make this cooperation feasible it is necessary to have a Sustainable management.

 

“FUGs can increase their income”, M.Batmagnai, Officer of cross-sub-provincial Forest Unit of Batsumber province

FUGs are not authorized to clean burnt forest (dead wood), we just have to cooperate with contracted specialized private companies. Members of FUGs, in parallel to protecting their forest area, clean it. The collected wood can be marketed, mostly for household usage. Overall, thanks to the engagement of FUGs and increased awareness, the crime rate in forest areas has declined and more local communities are combing their efforts to protect their homeland.

 

“Capacity building of FUGs is the main focus”, G.Lkhagvadorj, Member of the FUG “Buyant zuur”

– FUGs have established an association which allows them to determine and coordinate their actions under the integrated annual action plan. Within the scope of the Association’s regulations they are entitled to manage 10 ha of land which provides many advantages from the wood collected during the cleaning such as additional income and preventing fire and pest incidents. We are therefore focusing on building FUGs’ members’ capacity.

 

Source: “Zuunii medee” newspaper

 

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