Presentation Title

Vansemberuu of Khuvsgul, Mongolia: ecology, community knowledge, and conservation of an endangered medicinal flower

Presenter's Name(s)

Joscie Norris, UVMFollow

Project Collaborators

Nyamgerel Nudkhuu, Tumursukh Jal, Rebecca Watters, Nyam-Ochir Dvvjii, Byaamba, Zaya, Dave Barrington, Jane Kent, Karen Nordstrom, Nate Sanders, Rachelle Gould, Chris Smith

Abstract

Many medicinal and culturally valuable montane plants are threatened by climate change and over-harvest; in northern Mongolia, scientific and local knowledge of these species often goes undocumented. Saussurea dorogostaiskii, called vansemberuu in Mongolia, is a culturally significant medicinal species listed as Critically Endangered and subendemic to a narrow range of mountains in Mongolia and Russia. Although a prominent species, there exists little scientific documentation or active management of vansemberuu. This species grows in three Ulaan Taiga Protected Areas Administration (UTPAA) areas in northern Mongolia. My research, partnering with the UTPAA, is a descriptive study examining vansemberuu’s ecology, natural history, and the local knowledge of it in the Darkhad Basin of Khuvsgul aimag, "province". My research objectives are to document the habitat and community knowledge of the species; I am synthesizing these findings into a future species management plan and educational silkscreen prints. In 2018 and 2019 I conducted field research to assess the habitat conditions for the species, made field observations, and conducted semi-structured interviews with community members. I am modeling the species’ habitat and analyzing key themes from interviews. My art is born from my field work and conversations. The community values this species intrinsically and medicinally, and through this partnership with the UTPAA, I hope to encourage a greater reverence for vansemberuu’s protection through imagery. I am making posters, easily dispersed and displayed, qualities aligning with my education objectives. I have chosen the silkscreen medium for its complex ink layers, vibrant colors, and manual process. Inspired by environmental posters of Bread and Puppet and The JustSeeds Collective, striking images with social messages, I am creating multicolored posters as portraits of the flower’s unusual life stages. My studio work explores how botanical posters engage a community in the conversation of sustainable use and conservation.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Nate Sanders

Secondary Mentor NetID

jkent

Secondary Mentor Name

Jane Kent

Graduate Student Mentors

Case Prager, Kenna Rewcastle, Emily Piche

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Environmental Studies

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Art Studio

Secondary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

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Vansemberuu of Khuvsgul, Mongolia: ecology, community knowledge, and conservation of an endangered medicinal flower

Many medicinal and culturally valuable montane plants are threatened by climate change and over-harvest; in northern Mongolia, scientific and local knowledge of these species often goes undocumented. Saussurea dorogostaiskii, called vansemberuu in Mongolia, is a culturally significant medicinal species listed as Critically Endangered and subendemic to a narrow range of mountains in Mongolia and Russia. Although a prominent species, there exists little scientific documentation or active management of vansemberuu. This species grows in three Ulaan Taiga Protected Areas Administration (UTPAA) areas in northern Mongolia. My research, partnering with the UTPAA, is a descriptive study examining vansemberuu’s ecology, natural history, and the local knowledge of it in the Darkhad Basin of Khuvsgul aimag, "province". My research objectives are to document the habitat and community knowledge of the species; I am synthesizing these findings into a future species management plan and educational silkscreen prints. In 2018 and 2019 I conducted field research to assess the habitat conditions for the species, made field observations, and conducted semi-structured interviews with community members. I am modeling the species’ habitat and analyzing key themes from interviews. My art is born from my field work and conversations. The community values this species intrinsically and medicinally, and through this partnership with the UTPAA, I hope to encourage a greater reverence for vansemberuu’s protection through imagery. I am making posters, easily dispersed and displayed, qualities aligning with my education objectives. I have chosen the silkscreen medium for its complex ink layers, vibrant colors, and manual process. Inspired by environmental posters of Bread and Puppet and The JustSeeds Collective, striking images with social messages, I am creating multicolored posters as portraits of the flower’s unusual life stages. My studio work explores how botanical posters engage a community in the conversation of sustainable use and conservation.