The Jornada Basin and Mongolian LTER program both focus on desertification processes. Due to past contacts and an informal meeting with Dr. Chadraa (President of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences) at the LTER ASM, Jornada Basin scientists were invited by representatives of the Mongolian and Swiss governments to meet in Ulan Baatar with scientists and stakeholders in October 2006. This visit revealed the high value placed by these governments on understanding desertification processes and developing science-based strategies to mitigate its effects. Lost agricultural productivity ranks among the most important societal problems in Mongolia due to recent climatic changes and demographic/economic changes associated with fall of communism. Mongolian strategies to develop long-term ecological research on desertification, however, are nascent and connections to existing western science and U.S. LTER sites are weak. In particular, recent cross-scale models of desertification developed at the Jornada appear to be highly applicable to Mongolian desert systems but Mongolian researchers are unfamiliar with cross-scale concepts. Research coordination between the Jornada and Mongolian LTER sites would help to unite and guide Mongolian research directions/training and support cross-site comparisons and publications.
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