The takhi field station
There clearly is a demand and need for practical national and international training on ecosystem management, comprising both the ecological and socio-economic aspects of nature conservation and range management.
HNP as it is now, started with the successful reintroduction of the takhi. This project was- and is – followed by scientists and specialists both Mongolian and foreign, working on scientific projects as well as on monitoring for management purposes.
During the initial years, emphasis was put on the training of staff in order to build the capacity for the management of HNP itself. The research program concentrated on the strengthening of the scientific basis for the takhi-reintroduction program, and on a number of vegetation- and wildlife inventories of the area. Capacity building and research usually combined in an on-the-job training approach for management, protection and research staff. This approach was quite successful as proven by the departure of a good number of staff towards other projects after having spent some time with HNP.
Overview of current research and training
Since the reintroduction of the takhi in 1992 and the Park was gazetted as a protected area in 1993, it has become well known among national and international scientists. In the first few years, the Park administration concentrated on its national staff by giving it as much trainings possible, with the result that it is qualified and competitive. Research was focused on the Przewalski horses adaptation to its new environment, the Park’s vegetation and other wild animals.
Since then, the scope of research topics has widened to include identification of the Park’s biodiversity, issues that can be applied in park management and the assessment of the socio-economical status of the buffer zone. All the resulting information, the essential starting point for subsequent analysis, is accumulated in a GIS database.
The Hustai Research Centre, located at the border of the Park, is a base for experienced biologists working on a range of research topics, making it almost unique in Mongolia and even Central Asia.
The Centre’s training and research activities are categorized as follows:
- Vocational training for protected area’s staff in Mongolia
- Training for Park staff
- Research by students belonging to various national and international universities
- Field research for doctoral dissertations and master theses
- National and international seminars and meetings on the conservation of the steppe ecosystem and ecosystem management
To give some examples:
In total some 200 Mongolian students conducted research in the Park in the period from 1992-2011. In the same period eight Mongolian and foreign biologists wrote their PhD dissertations on ecosystem issues for which the field work was carried out in the Park.
The facilities of the Centre include: an office building, training equipment, a library, sleeping accomodation, transportation means and a well trained Mongolian scientific staff.