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.