Introduction: environmental disaster in Mongolian modern history

Takahiro Ozaki, Hiroki Takakura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper provides an insight into the framework employed to revisit Mongolian modern history. The term “environmental disaster” signifies the social process of entanglement in human-environmental interactions, emphasizing the failure of human actions. The Mongolian pastoral society is vulnerable to various kinds of disasters, among which the most problematic is dzud (cold and snow disaster), resulting in heavy damage to livestock. A severe disaster can be a cue to initiate social change, which emerges at the phase of resilience, as disasters may be recognized as a result of social instability. Although there were two severe dzud, the total number of livestock was relatively stable during the collectivization era (1959–1992). After the collapse of the socialist regime and the end of economic dependency on the USSR, the nation’s total number of livestock increased until 1999. However, it saw a sharp decrease during the nationwide dzud (in 1999–2002), which continued for three years. This unprecedented dzud also brought about a change in pastoralism. Nowadays, even the people in pastoral lands depend on imported commodities associated with globalization. The rural landscape in Outer Mongolia has changed into two types: suburban areas, including areas around cities and near major roads; and remote areas, including typical Mongolian rural areas that do not have up-to-date socio-economic services. This distinction makes it a complex situation, especially when the questions of disasters arise for the Mongolian people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Contemporary East Asia Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Mongolia
  • disaster
  • modern history
  • pastoralism
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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