Fernández-Giménez on effects of climate change on Mongolian cashmere herders
María Fernández-Giménez, a rangeland specialist and associate professor at Colorado State University who has been observing environmental trends in Bayankhongor since 1994, believes that if there is a demonstrated market for "sustainable cashmere,” herders might change their practices. She envisions herders breeding fewer, but higher-quality goats and participating in monitoring to certify their products as organic and fair-trade, which would fetch a higher price for the wool.
"Since the last dzud more herders are talking about the need to increase the quality of their animals rather than increase the quantity," says Fernández-Giménez. The challenge for herders is a lack of access to quality breeding stock. Moreover, they would need to find a market for the finer wool.