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Restoring peatlands and enhancing livelihood for the local communities in Mongolia

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Case study
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Wetlands International and partners are implementing a five-year project from 2024, to restore degraded peatlands in Mongolia, which is based on the national ‘Mongolian Strategic Plan for Peatlands Conservation and Wise Use’.  The project will focus on four areas – Gatchuurt, Khurkh, Khashaat, and Orkhon – and will restore close to 25,000 hectares of peatland. 

Mongolia is one of the countries that emits the highest amount of greenhouse gases from damaged peatlands globally.  The project will bring together peatland restoration, large climate benefits and socio-economic improvements for the local communities and will empower the government of Mongolia to further create and implement landscape scale peatland restoration projects. This will strengthen Mongolia’s peatland climate and biodiversity action. 

Orkhon. Photo credit: Care for Ecosystems

Peatlands in the project areas are currently affected by overgrazing, changes in local communities’ lifestyles from nomadic to more sedentary, transformation to arable lands and overuse of groundwater for mining, road construction, forest fires and forest planting at wrong locations. The degradation of the peatlands has resulted in permafrost thawing, decrease in land productivity, increase in droughts and floods, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions. 

With support from, Greenchoice, and working with partners such as the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia, and our knowledge partner Care for Ecosystems, Wetlands International is restoring the hydrology of degraded peatlands.

We will be applying nature-based solutions for permafrost protection, introducing sustainable and climate-smart herder and agriculture practices like sustainable water management, fencing and enhancing herd management efficiency, and the creation and promotion of winter fodder.  

Khashat. Photo credit: Care for Ecosystems

Over the next five years, we aim to deliver 25,000 ha of restored and healthy peatlands, improved knowledge of peatlands ecosystem functioning and services in Mongolia and their role in climate mitigation and adaptation, increased biodiversity conservation, enhanced livelihoods and socio-economic resilience of local communities, and solid regional and local capacity that enables Mongolia to create, implement and maintain peatland restoration projects. 

This is set to be a highly impactful project that brings together peatland restoration, large carbon benefits and socio-economic improvements for the local communities. It also presents an opportunity to embed peatlands in Mongolia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) increasing the country’s presence in the global climate change agenda.