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Local Value and Rights to Winter Camps under Land Privatization Policy in Postsocialist Mongolia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kazato, Mari
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1882
Sector: New Commons
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
land tenure and use
transitional economics
common pool resources
Abstract: "This paper discusses how Mongolian herders have dealt with o'voljoo (winter campsites with shelters, corrals, and surrounding pastures) [sg. o'voljoo, pl. o'voljoo] in response to postsocialist changes such as land privatization. The state has retained possession of pasturelands even after the socialist period, prompting international organizations to call for the establishment of private land ownership to combat pasture degradation by overgrazing. "During the socialist period, the livestock, shelters, and corrals of o'voljoo became the common property of animal husbandry cooperatives. In the early 1990s, the cooperatives were dismantled, and the livestock, shelters, and corrals were distributed to herders. In 1995, the government issued certificates to ensure households had possession of the land occupied by the shelters and corrals of their o'voljoo. The external logic of private property rights has thus become central to state land policy. Although possessory rights to o'voljoo have been guaranteed, local people have not necessarily adhered to the land right itself because they regard the right to o'voljoo as incomplete without actual use. A gap has thus developed between state policy and herders' attitudes to o'voljoo rights. From the herders' perspective, a special soil called buuts constitutes the core of the o'voljoo. Formed by the accumulation of dung over many winters, buuts serves as an indispensable bedding for animals, insulating them from the cold winter nights. Shelters and corrals are constructed to protect the buuts [sg. buuts, pl. buuts] from weathering as well as to protect livestock from the cold. Thus, the value of and right to o'voljoo are generated through use, such as daily pastoral practices and active maintenance, which includes fixing shelters and corrals, maintaining the buuts, and moving the herds to nearby areas."

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