Biodiversity and adaptation of key forest ecosystems to climate change II

Project description

Title: Biodiversity and adaptation of key forest ecosystems to climate change II
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mongolia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET)
Overall term: 2015 to 2018

Mongolia. Forestry practical training in Tunkhel bag, Mandal Soum, Selenge aimag 2013


Mongolia has a rich and in some respects unique biodiversity. It is of global significance and occupies pristine vegetation zones. However, the fauna and flora are acutely threatened. Species and habitat loss, deforestation and forest destruction, and the largely unregulated overuse of common pasture areas have produced a complex situation of vulnerability that poses a growing threat to the continued existence of entire ecosystems.

The main causes of this situation include rural poverty, and the lack of knowledge and of resources. Current conservation practices and the management of biodiversity and ecosystems still adhere to the principles of the planned economy. This is especially true in the case of forest management.

The adverse effects of climate change, which are already comparatively strong in Mongolia, will further aggravate the situation in the future. The impacts include rising temperatures and declining precipitation, an increased incidence of extreme weather events and the depletion of ecosystem capacities.


Tried-and-tested strategies are available to stakeholders in the Mongolian forestry sector for the conservation and sustainable use of forest ecosystems and their biodiversity. The stakeholders apply these strategies.


The programme combines national-level policy advice on climate, biodiversity and the environment, with technical and organisational innovation at the regional level in Aimags and Soums. At the local level, the programme works directly with forest concession holders and user groups.

The programme’s team of advisors on the ‘improvement of the legal and administrative framework’ is contributing to the creation of suitable conditions for sustainable forest management. The programme is working with its partners to devise regulations on the use of genetic resources (otherwise known as ‘access and benefit sharing’), the certification of sustainable forest management, and regulations on seed and reproductive materials, including an appropriate financing strategy.

The action area ‘piloting of sustainable forest management’ addresses the application of technical tools and concepts for sustainable forest management. This relates in particular to regulations related to forest cultivation and harvests. It includes an assessment of the quantity of timber that can be harvested sustainably, as a precondition for sustainable supply strategies. Non-timber forest products, such as nuts, seeds, berries and medicinal plants, make a significant contribution to food security for both rural and urban people. In part, they also represent a considerable – and expandable – contribution the livelihoods of the rural poor. Here too, the project will develop instruments for their sustainable utilisation.

In the area of ‘integrated vocational education’, the programme is piloting a comprehensive training system for sustainable forest management, and advising the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection on ways to improve the vocational training system for foresters. It is training private inventory companies to pursue better forest management practices, and forestry units and environmental agencies to conduct efficient monitoring of forestry measures that have been planned and implemented.

To date, forestry is an occupation predominantly pursued by men. By providing targeted curriculum advice, however, the programme is working to extend its appeal to women in the future. The advice is provided by a team of national and international experts, although for some services European consulting firms are involved.

The programme is part of the Biodiversity priority area of German-Mongolian cooperation, and is in line with international standards such as UN-REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) and ENA-FLEG (Europe and North Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance), an organisation promoting legal timber usage.

The consulting firm ECO Consult Sepp & Busacker Partnerschaft supports the implementation of the project.


Improvements to the policy and legal-administrative framework for implementation since the start of the programme in 2012 have significantly increased the probability of the programme contributing to the country’s overarching development goals.

The programme has contributed decisively to enhancing the professionalism of the dialogue surrounding development and the environment, and reducing political obstacles. It has done so through capacity development, information and knowledge management, and through the provision of reliable, up-to-date basic information on land and biodiversity, and on the potential of Mongolia’s forests for carbon sequestering and timber production.

The course has been set for a move from demand-oriented to sustainable forestry. ‘School forest areas’ have been introduced for the piloting of sustainable forest management practices. Initial strategies have been published to encourage a more sustainable approach to forest management, adapted to climate change. The first qualified forest workers have graduated from the vocational schools, and they now act as multipliers of sustainable forest management.

Left: A valuable forest ecosystem, Selenge aimag 2013 - Right: Pinus sibirica seed stand, Khan Khentii Protected Area, 2014 © GIZ

Efforts are well advanced to develop concepts for a national certification system for sustainable forest management which takes social and safety standards into account.