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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Building research and teaching capacity to aid climate change and natural resource management at the National University of Mongolia

PI: Nachin Baatarbileg (National University of Mongolia)
U.S. Partner: Amy Hessl (West Virginia University)
Project Dates: August 2013 to July 2016
 
Climate change affects a wide range of natural resources, including pasture, croplands, forests, and water, and has increased the vulnerability of herders and those who live in remote forest areas. Effective solutions for problems related to climate change adaptation and natural resources management require well coordinated, science based national policies and priorities that are developed with the engagement of government stakeholders and civil society. Mongolia has limited human, technical, and financial capacities to address the multi-faceted threat caused by climate change. Institutions for higher education and research in Mongolia face difficulties in providing high-quality and relevant instruction and research, retaining staff, and ensuring adequate working environments and career prospects.
The main target area for the research to be carried out under this project is the Central Khangai region, a typical Central Asian forest-steppe region in which climate change impacts are negatively impacting both the environment and socioeconomic development. Central Khangai has few environmental monitoring stations and limited records of past climate data, so the dendroclimatic data to be compiled as part of this project is urgently needed. Through the training components and support for students to conduct their own research, the project should strengthen the institutional capacity and performance of the National University of Mongolia to deliver quality education and research, with due attention to gender balance considerations. It should also facilitate increased U.S.-Mongolian collaboration in an important research area.

Summary of Recent Activities
Currently, the six person research team is in the field for 21 days to sample designated sites in the Central Khangai region including the Tuin river basin area which covers the Bayankhongor and Zavkhan aimags. Their findings will be added to the current data for analysis which, as of the second quarter of 2016, includes 50 sites and more than 1500 cores. This has allowed for the development of master chronologies and other regression analysis to see growth trends and a hydro-climatic relation.

All team member at the graduate and undergrad levels who did their research work on this project submitted abstracts to the IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania 2016, Forests for Sustainable Development: The Role of Research being held in Beijing, China on October 24-27, 2016. The team is going to participate as a full team including both professors and research students for this regional congress. Therefore, the research team is being pushed to produce good results sooner and submit both oral and poster presentations to the conference. Additionally, senior students Sainbayar Gombo and Davaajav Dalkhsuren graduated in June after finalizing their theses and will also be participating in the conference.

The fall semester of 2016 will start in September and therefore the team is planning to give the last scholarship of the project. This school year the team will continue both the undergrad and graduate scholarships. Additionally, one of the graduate students of the Tree Ring Lab at NUM, Uyanga Ariya, recently completed her PhD in Japan and, based on her skill and research experience, the project PI offered her a fellowship for six months at the laboratory. Dr. Ariya will complete her post-doctoral work with the project and help to improve the research results from May to October, 2016.
 
2-296 Project Work
 
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