Goats were not as pervasive as sheep in the Mongol flocks, but the Mongols consumed goat meat, milk, and cheese. The poor wore goat skins; and in more modern times, goats have become valuable as the source for cashmere.

Because goats were not as tough and needed more care than sheep, the Mongols kept fewer goats. In addition, because goats consume the grass to the root when they graze, they devastate the grasslands, resulting in desertification.

Mongols in traditional times therefore limited the number of goats in their flocks. Modern demand for cashmere caused many herders in the 1990s to increase their numbers of goats, potentially undermining the traditional ecological balance.


 
 
© 2004 Asia for Educators, Columbia University
AFE Home Main Page