Protection of Forest Biodiversity

Using principles of sustainable forest management to make Mongolian forests resilient to climate change whilst preserving their biodiversity


Exceptionally harsh climatic conditions prevail in Mongolia. Located at the transition between the Siberian taiga and the Central Asian deserts and steppes, climate change has a particularly negative effect on the local environment.

The Forest cover on the northern part of the country is of extreme economical and ecological importance. 35% of the population is directly dependent on its natural resources, such as timber, firewood, berries, mushrooms or medicinal plants. In addition, the forest generates clean water and conserves the micro-climate.

There are several serious environmental problems in Mongolia:  during the last 20 years, the forest cover has declined substantially and now covers only about 10% of the land area. Each year, the forest area decreases by about 0.2%. This is partly due to the changing climatic conditions, but also due to the ever increasing human impacts (fire, grazing, illegal use) that aggravate the effects of climate change. Global market dynamics exacerbate this phenomenon, as energy and water consumption as well as land use is steadily increasing.

Mongolia is faced with the challenge of compensating for the effects of climate change on the environment and on the economy while protecting the fragile ecosystems with their limited natural resources. So far, however, there is a lack of technical capacity and of a coherent policy to combine the management of forests with protection of ecosystems and their biodiversity.

The Approach

In light of the complex issues, German International Cooperation’s project pursues a multi-leveled approach. At the national level, it concentrates on policy advice on issues such as climate, biodiversity and use of natural resources. In parallel, at the regional level, technical and organizational innovations are developed and implemented. In addition, employees of relevant authorities are trained to incorporate measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change into regional and local policy.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) advises the Mongolian partners in improving the legal and institutional framework for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. German consultants support the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Green Development in reforming their forestry and nature conservation policy. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Labor are supported in the development of modern curricula for the educational training of forestry and environmental technicians. The training will be available for 'Forest Enterprises' (FE), local and regional (Soum and Aimag) administrations, forestry companies and other forest users. Among other things, the profession, which has been male-dominated until now, is to be made more attractive for women.

Moreover, the program works with local forestry companies, which are often connected to small and medium-sized woodworking and processing plants. In the context of Public Private Partnerships, a pilot project is run on the practical implementation of innovative concepts. An incentive for those participating is the operational certification and also the certification of sustainable use according to the national standards. More incentives arise from the payment of environmental services (CO2 Bonds), and the participation of civil groups for protection and care of forests.

The Impact

With its implementation on various levels, the project maintains the forest area along with its biological diversity. The ecosystems are able to better adapt to climate change through sustainable management. In addition, the value on the forest is increased, which will create new opportunities for investment in businesses, secure and create jobs, make the timber trade more transparent and more attractive, thus creating a direct incentive for a balanced forest management. More job opportunities in rural areas create a greater income for the population. Finally, biodiversity conservation in protected areas of the Khangai region is more effective through inter-regional co-operation and decentralized monitoring.


More information (only available in German)