Natural Hazards

, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 727–739 | Cite as

Climate impact on vegetation and animal husbandry on the Mongolian plateau: a comparative analysis

  • Lijuan Miao
  • Richard Fraser
  • Zhanli Sun
  • David Sneath
  • Bin He
  • Xuefeng Cui
Original Paper


International research has focused more attention on arid and semiarid regions in recent years, as climate change has already had adverse impacts on grasslands and local households in the Mongolian plateau. Based on meteorological data, GIMMS AVHRR NDVI3g data, and livestock records, through statistical analysis, a significantly strong warming trend and a slightly decreasing trend in precipitation were ascertained in this region. Precipitation patterns are shifting, and intensifying, extreme events, such as droughts and dzud (extremely harsh winters characterized by heavy snow and low temperature), are a major threat to vegetation growth and animal husbandry development. Following a comparative analysis approach, we explored how the vegetation and animal husbandry response to climate change and extreme weather differ between Inner Mongolia and Mongolia. We found that vegetation growth generally decreased after the mid-1990s, but began to recover from 2001 over the entire region. The agricultural intensification level is higher in Inner Mongolia than in Mongolia, and residents in Inner Mongolia have a greater awareness of unexpected disasters than those in Mongolia. To deal with these challenges, this region warrants further study on how climate extremes will impact on regional animal husbandry and local social economics on the arid and semiarid regions. This could have implications for the international community, local government, local residents, and future scientific activities in this space.


Climate change Vegetation growth Animal husbandry Mongolian plateau 



The work was financially supported by the National Basic Research Development Program of China (Grant Nos. 2015CB953600, 2011CB952001), National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41271542) and sponsored by the State Foundation for Studying Abroad to visit the UK.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lijuan Miao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard Fraser
    • 2
  • Zhanli Sun
    • 3
  • David Sneath
    • 2
  • Bin He
    • 1
  • Xuefeng Cui
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Global Change and Earth Systems ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Mongolian and Inner Asia Studies UnitCambridge UniversityCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)Halle (Saale)Germany
  4. 4.School of Systems ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  5. 5.School of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity College DublinBelfield, Dublin 4Ireland

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