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ICCF International Conservation Corps experts Joel Holtrop, retired Deputy Chief, U.S. Forest Service, and Paul Ries, retired Associate Deputy Chief, U.S. Forest Service, completed an International Conservation Corps mission to Mongolia in November 2016.


The purpose of this mission was to evaluate the potential for International Conservation Corps projects to assist in Mongolia’s forest sector. Hosted by the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), the team participated in three days of meetings in Ulaanbaatar and spent a day in the field visiting with Forest User Group leaders and visiting a forest project site.

The trip was well organized by the U.S. Department of State. The team met with the Forest Advisor to the Minister of Environment and Tourism, the Director of Forest and Forest Policy and Coordination of MET, the UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program, the Forest Research and Development Center, the Asia Development Bank, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The Asia Foundation, the National Forest inventory project at the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), a former Member of Parliament and former Director of MET, the Canadian Embassy, and U.S. Department of Defense Civil Affairs representatives.

Finally, the team met with U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt and members of her Embassy team to provide an out-brief on what they learned.


The team identified several potential areas in which the ICCF International Conservation Corps could assist in a meaningful way, including forest health/forest pest management, forest utilization, and Forest User Group technical assistance.


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