Mongolians benefit from their forests

Trans. by D.SERGELEN

 A six-month long forestry research project and census has recently concluded, but the final results of the census will be ready next December. The Head of the Forest Resource Research Office of the Forest Research and Development Center State Owned Enterprise Kh.Michid spoke to Unuudur about the forest census and its results.

Mongolia first counted its forests in 1965.  What was unique about this census?

When and how Mongolia has counted its forests is a very interesting question. We studied our forests in 1956 and from 1974 to 1975. This is the third time we’ve counted them, while Finland has counted its forests 11 times.

During the census taken 58 years ago in Mongolia, it was estimated that forests occupied over 10 percent, or 15 million hectares of land. Essential documents, including the general scheme for claiming and making use of forest resources through industrialized methods and measures to fight forests pests and insects, were processed at that time.

Consequently, the first official statistical data and forest map were published.

How are the forests counted?

The main point of this forest census is to define a forest’s median resources and biomass per hectare, throughout the nation and three forest regions.  In order to define whether a sample area is located within the nation’s borders, Landsat eight satellite imaging is used.  Research involving biological species counting, forest structure and endangered plants in the Red Book are carried out in six meters radius circles.

When will the final results of the census be presented?

Over 12,633 sample areas were set in 4,211 locations where coniferous and foliage forests are located. Currently, we are receiving original materials from the counting and rest of the work is being transferred to a digital format for analysis. The amount of absorbed greenhouse gases in Mongolia will be determined according to international standards.

Even if it snows in mountainous areas, our forests are doing their job very well.

What difficulties did you face in conducting the census?

Working in a forest is nice, but it is hard labor.  The safety of individuals or teams is the most important thing, and our workers are injected with vaccinations from tick-borne diseases. Our supervisor prevented us from operating GPS and surveying equipment when electrical storms happened. One worker was injured while he was working during an electrical storm.

The German Society for Technical Cooperation invested 5.7 billion MNT and the state budget funded one billion MNT for the forest census. Did you really need this much money?

This census involved the study of biomass, biological species, and what is in forest aside from trees, using new methodology.  The new methodology was prepared for one year, starting from December 2012. Moreover, we needed a laboratory to process and summarize reports after the census was conducted successfully.

Mongolia invested one billion MNT and 886 million was spent on salaries for 22 teams who conducted the survey, and 114 million will be spent on salaries for laboratory workers and operational expenses.

By carrying out this forest census, investments of more than one billion MNT were required.

How come?

There are carbon credits traded between countries, in which one country receives money from another country that produces greenhouse gases.  After this census, the amount of greenhouse gases being absorbed by the coniferous forests in Mongolia will be estimated. Maybe developed countries can choose Mongolia as their preferred country for planting trees and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases worldwide.

What is vital for decreasing greenhouse gases besides planting trees?

Plants, oceans and soil absorb greenhouse gases. Destroying plants and forests increases greenhouse gases. There are two ways to reduce them: using updated technology and increasing green mass. One international organization estimated that forests and plants absorb 450 to 650 billion tons of greenhouse gas per year and forests absorbs 80 percent of emissions.

Forest resources are becoming scarce due to illegal logging and forest fires. What protection policies are being pursued by the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Green Development?

As more of our country develops, these negative effects are decreasing year by year.  Citizens have started understanding the value of protecting and planting forests. It is true that forest resources are in decline, but if we can study forests scientifically and define their resources, or use them correctly, our forest resources are capable of supplying Mongolians with wood and lumber for national consumption.

Starting next year, we are going to conduct studies and experiments with fertile soil in barrels. We will start manufacturing fertile soil in Mongolia.


Source: Unuudur


Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=12730

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