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Journal Article

Future drought risk and adaptation of pastoralism in Eurasian rangelands


Nandintsetseg,  Banzragch
External Organizations;

Chang,  Jinfeng
External Organizations;

Sen,  Omer L.
External Organizations;


Reyer,  Christopher P. O.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Kong,  Kaman
External Organizations;

Yetemen,  Omer
External Organizations;

Ciais,  Philippe
External Organizations;

Davaadalai,  Jamts
External Organizations;

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Nandintsetseg, B., Chang, J., Sen, O. L., Reyer, C. P. O., Kong, K., Yetemen, O., Ciais, P., Davaadalai, J. (2024): Future drought risk and adaptation of pastoralism in Eurasian rangelands. - npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 7, 82.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_29565
Drought risk threatens pastoralism in rangelands, which are already under strain from climatic and socioeconomic changes. We examine the future drought risk (2031–2060 and 2071–2100) to rangeland productivity across Eurasia (West, Central, and East Asia) using a well-tested process-based ecosystem model and projections of five climate models under three shared socioeconomic pathway (SSP) scenarios of low (SSP1−2.6), medium (SSP3−7.0), and high (SSP5−8.5) warming relative to 1985–2014. We employ a probabilistic approach, with risk defined as the expected productivity loss induced by the probability of hazardous droughts (determined by a precipitation-based index) and vulnerability (the response of rangeland productivity to hazardous droughts). Drought risk and vulnerability are projected to increase in magnitude and area across Eurasian rangelands, with greater increases in 2071–2100 under the medium and high warming scenarios than in 2031–2060. Increasing risk in West Asia is caused by longer and more intense droughts and vulnerability, whereas higher risk in Central and East Asia is mainly associated with increased vulnerability, indicating overall risk is higher where vulnerability increases. These findings suggest that future droughts may exacerbate livestock feed shortages and negatively impact pastoralism. The results have practical implications for rangeland management that should be adapted to the ecological and socioeconomic contexts of the different countries in the region. Existing traditional ecological knowledge can be promoted to adapt to drought risk and embedded in a wider set of adaptation measures involving management improvements, social transformations, capacity building, and policy reforms addressing multiple stakeholders.