Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Gritzner


Land Change, pastoralist, Remote sensing


University of Montana


With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, demands on the vast steppe rangelands and other natural resources in Mongolia, Russia, and other Central Asian states experienced drastic changes. Moving from a socialistic system into a free-market economy of supply and demand saw regulatory institutions, which historically managed natural resources like rangelands, dissolved or without the capacity to enforce their work requirements. Like other places in Russia, the region of the Kosh-Agach Wildlife Refuge experienced a decrease in demand for livestock products, which forced many rural peoples to move to urban areas in search of work. The opposite occurred in the region of western Mongolia where the so-called Cluster A of the Siilkhemiin Nuruu National Park is located. That Region saw an increase in migration from urban to rural areas to embrace their traditional pastoralist lifestyle in order to make a living. This study uses satellite imagery, remote sensing analysis, and field data to assess rangeland conditions in these two protected areas over the past twenty years. The study concludes that rangeland conditions are deteriorating in both areas. Yet more research is needed in order to assess the levels at which climatic and anthropogenic factors are influencing this decline.



© Copyright 2007 Sidney Rankin Holmes