The Vegetation of the Forest-Steppe Region of Hustain Nuruu, Mongolia
The world is an amazing place and Mongolia is home to some amazing life-forms. In a deeply forested steppe of Hustain Nuruu was extensively researched by scholars. Here, they studied and identified 11 plant communities, consisting of four steppe communities, two meadow communities, a tussock grassland, two shrub communities, a scrub community and a woodland community.
In the temperate zone, steppe vegetation makes up the largest fraction of grassland. Its occurrence is largely determined by climatic and edaphic factors which favour grasses and associated herbaceous plants and prevent the dominance of woody plants, i.e. trees and shrubs. Investigating in this region makes for an interesting study for the study “of factors that deter mine the relative distribution of grassland and forest in a temperate environment”.
The area used for research has an annual mean temperature of +0.2C and a yearly precipitation of 270 mm. Winter starts on October with an annual mean temperature of -23C in January. Strong winds and low precipitation often leaves the soil exposed on ridges and mountain slopes open to the elements.
The Iris lactea-meadow is highly covered by vegetation (60 – 100%) with a mixture of different grasses, including Poa pratensis, Agrostis mongholica, Hordeum brevisubulatum. Herbs included Iris lactea, Potentilla anserina, Ranunculus sp., Sanguisorba officinalis.
The Artemisia adamsii-Stipa krylovii-lowland steppe is the most common community in this area, found on the arid foot-slopes of the mountainous regions as well as on the rolling plains. 40 – 80% of this is region is open; the soils are kastanozems with a changeable soil consistency from loamy to gravel. Stipa krylovii and two species of Artemisia, A. adamsii and A. frgida are the two grasses that dominate the steppe and the Legume dwarf-shrubs (Caragana pygmaea and C. microphylla) can take up to 15% as well.
The Thermopsis laneeolata-Stipa krylovii-upland steppe is usually to be found on foot-slopes and slopes at a higher elevation than the lowland steppe. “The general conditions regarding topography and soil are similar to the lowland steppe, but the higher elevation appears favourable for the soil moisture regime. The vegetation cover ranges between 45 and 90% and the average cover of 70% is 10% higher than in the lowland steppe. The upland steppe is also grazed heavily by livestock. It is often used as a place for winter camps by nomad pastoralists”.
The vegetations of this region are varied and very interesting. The Forest steppe region of Hustain Nuruu in Mongolia is as varied and interesting as her people and has much to offer us.
Wallis de Vries, M. F. & Manibazar, N. & Dugerlham, S. (1996) The Vegetation of the Forest-Steppe Region of Hustain Nuruu, Mongolia, Vegetatio, Springer.