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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 February 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
Following the program plan, the project team held a meeting in July to address the scope of work for the fall and to announce the awarded scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. Unfortunately, the team did not receive any PhD level applications this year, but was able to use the funds to award three master’s students and three undergrad students to pursue research at the Tree Ring Laboratory.

Starting in August, the team established an archaeological site at Saridag Monastery. Core samples were collected from trees in the ruins which will lead to improved chronology compared to the previous year’s dendroarcheological and wood anatomical studies. This study was requested by History and Archaeological Institute of Mongolian Academy of Science. In addition to this site, the research needs of the current scholarship recipients dictated the establishing of field visits to Northern Mongolia during the months of July and August to collect data for analyzing.

Future plans for the team include preparing abstracts for 4th Asian Dendrochronological conference in Kathmandu, Nepal by the November 30 deadline. Dr. Oyunsanaa Byambasuren will present his research work on stand dynamics after forest fires and MSc. Byambagerel Suran will present a poster regarding reconstructing defoliation frequency of gypsy moth in larch forests using dendrochronological methods. Additionally, Byambagerel Suran will participate in the 13th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit and 4th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire in Boise, Idaho, from April 20-24, 2015. Finally, training sessions to teach students about reading scientific papers and improving their critical thinking skills will continue in the winter due to their clear benefit and success in the past.
Back to PEER Cycle 2 Grant Recipients