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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 320

Mongolians compare notes with Carrizo Plain partners 

The vast grasslands of Mongolia may be a half-world away, but they still have similarities with Central California rangeland.

A group of seven Mongolians visited the Carrizo Plain National Monument last week as part of a tour through Arizona and California sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. The group included biologists, government officials, a herder and the sole ranger for a million-acre preserve. (text continues below):

Photos below: Carrizon Plain National Monument manager Johna Hurl shows the visitors an information display and other sites, on a hike to Painted Rock:
Carrizo Plain National Monument manager Johna Hurl shows Mongolian visitors an information kiosk at the monument

The grasslands of Mongolia, which is located between Russia and China, cover about 25 million acres, members of the group said through an interpreter. The Carrizo, with low grasses extending across the valley floor, looks similar to the Mongolian landscape.

A vole in Mongolia fills the ecological niche filled by the giant kangaroo rat on the Carrizo. Unlike the Carrizo, Mongolia hasn’t seen invasive species replace the native grasses. With low rainfall, hot summers and cold winters, the non-natives haven’t been able to thrive.

Stopping for a closer look at local insect life:
Stopping to look at the local insect life

Grazing in Mongolia is managed without fences. The grasslands are treated as common property by the herders, who graze camels and goats in addition to the usual horses, sheep and cattle.

The grasslands are managed by local governments and cooperative arrangements like that on the Carrizo was a primary topic. The managing partners for the Carrizo are BLM, California Department of Fish and Game and The Nature Conservancy. The Mongolians are interested in similar partnerships to build capacity.

John Hurl speaks to the group during a pause in their hike

Taking a closer look at a burrow:
Taking a closer look at a burrow

Johna Hurl points out sites on the Carrizo

- D. Christy, 2/08

BLM California News.bytes, issue 320

Last updated: 02-27-2008