Mongolia (Fulbright S&T grantee 2010)
Ariuntsesteg Lkhagva is an International Fulbright Science & Technology Award recipient from Mongolia. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Botany Department at the University of Wyoming. Her research focuses on understanding variations of annual net primary production in the arid and semi-arid ecosystems of Mongolia.
In these ecosystems, plant growth is mostly limited by precipitation and temperature and a distribution of resources necessary for plant growth is highly variable from year-to-year. Recent attempts to understand these variations have produced planting strategies, plant response to climate change, and alteration of precipitation regime, which may increase the heavy or large precipitation events at the end of the growing season. This issue is particularly important in Mongolia, as it is considered to be one of the hot spots of climate change occurrence.
Results of Ariuntsesteg’s research may be helpful in addressing environmental issues, especially pastureland degradation and desertification that occurs in arid and semi-arid grassland ecosystems because of the increasing number of livestock and the environmental drying caused by climate change. This may be particularly beneficial to Mongolia, where the number of livestock has increased two-and-a-half times and most of the pastureland has experienced some extent of degradation.