By Elizabeth Endicott
An illustrated historical past of the pastoral nomadic lifestyle in Mongolia, this booklet examines the numerous demanding situations that Mongolian herders proceed to stand within the fight over common assets within the post-socialist loose marketplace period.
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Extra info for A History of Land Use in Mongolia: The Thirteenth Century to the Present
Because those Mongols who settled in Iran, Afghanistan, along the lower Volga, and elsewhere in the Islamic world did not return to the Mongolian homeland, they shall not be the focus of our attention. The Mongols who ruled China, however, did return to the steppes of Mongolia after the dynasty E a r ly H i s t o ry 49 that they ruled (the Yuan Dynasty, 1271–1272) collapsed during a wave of rebellions in the 1360s. During the course of the Yuan Dynasty, Mongolian rulers, soldiers, and officials within China faced a variety of cultural and social influences in the form of Confucian ritual, Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Daoism.
1 Cooking on the ger stove in the South Gobi, 1996. Mongolia’s Regions 35 to heat the ger and to provide fuel for cooking. The use of dried animal dung is an environmentally sound methodology practiced by pastoral nomads past and present throughout Central Eurasia. 1). The collection of argal is generally women’s and children’s work. 2). The availability of firewood varies by region in Mongolia, and thus the ratio of argal to wood as fuel to warm the ger varies as well. The Gobi, for instance, differs from other regions in herders’ dependence upon shrubs as fuel.
While the pastoral nomadic way of life encounters enormous challenges throughout Mongolia, nowhere is it so demanding as in the cold desert environment of the Gobi. The Gobi desert in its entirety encompasses some 390,000 square miles, constituting about one-third of Mongolia’s southern regions as well as extended regions of Inner Mongolia in China’s north. It is a pebbly, rock-strewn desert with sparse but nutritious vegetation for herd animals. 2 As a cold northerly desert, the Gobi’s harshness is felt most in winter when temperatures may plunge to −40 degrees Fahrenheit and are often accompanied by ferocious northerly winds.
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