In May 2011, two weeks before I was scheduled to start research in the region, a Mongol herder named Mergen was hit by a mining truck while protecting his pastureland in Xilingol, Inner Mongolia. He was dragged 140 feet and killed. His death sparked a month of protests.
China’s economic boom appears to be contagious. Over the past few years, China’s northern neighbor has quietly caught the bug and become the world’s second-fastest growing economy, experiencing a GDP growth rate of approximately 17.3 percent in 2011.
Around the world, as the most easily accessible natural resources are depleted, states are beginning to turn to more remote reserves to meet their needs and the shift may spark international tensions or even conflict, said Hampshire College professor Michael Klare in a recent interview with ECSP. “I worry very much about this growing global competition for the remaining resources in those parts of the world,” he said.
›August 21, 2012 // By Wilson Center Staff
Bouncing along bad roads in a jeep through central Mongolia, with bright blue skies and high clouds overhead, we drive for miles through a treeless landscape, passing only dry grasslands dotted with cattle and white yurts. But as we head north – myself, two U.S. scientists, and one Mongolian forestry expert – we begin to notice Siberian pine and larch growing on the northern slopes of rolling hills, but not the southern slopes, and at some elevations, but not others. In water-scarce Mongolia, as my travel companion Neil Pederson of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory explained, the precarious growth of trees is limited by temperature and moisture availability; small variations – northern slopes are slightly cooler and wetter – can make all the difference.
›July 23, 2012 // By Kate Diamond
Mongolia, a vast, sparsely populated country almost as large as Western Europe, is at once strikingly poor and strikingly rich. Its GDP per capita falls just below that of war-torn Iraq, and Ulan Bator has some of the worst air pollution ever recorded in a capital city. At the same time, Mongolia sits atop some of the world’s largest mineral reserves, worth trillions of dollars, and its economy, already one of the world’s fastest growing, could expand by a factor of six by the end of the decade as those reserves are developed.
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