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SECOSYSTEM APPROACH FOR STUDYING
BIODIVERSITY
IN THE SELENGA RIVER BASIN
Peter D. Gunin*, Ch. Dugarjav ** and Sergey N. Bazha*,
_________________________________________
 - Laboratory of Arid Territories Ecology, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution,
RAS, 119071, Leninsky prospect, 33, Moscow, Russia, telephone: (+7-499) - 124-3313; fax:
(+7-499) -124-7934;
E-mail: [email protected] ; [email protected]
 - Laboratory of Forestry, Institute of Botany, Mongolian Academy of Sciences
210351, Jukovin gudamj, 77. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,
Tel./ fax: (+976) – 11-451-837; E-mail: [email protected]
The main tasks
• Biodiversity of the ecosystems, floristic
and faunistic diversity;
• Anthropogenic disturbance of the
ecosystems;
• SPA network analysis
Baikal Basin Area
Russian part
Mongolian part
Lake Baikal Basin’
border
1. The Lake Baikal basin area is more than
557 000 km2 (52% - in Mongolia and 48% in Russia).
2. Selenga River– is the transboundary water
object in the core of the Asian continent and
is the biggest tributary to the Lake Baikal
( around 30 km3 of water annually), that
makes a half of total inflow to the Lake. The
46% of the annual run-off of the Selenga
River is generated at the territory of
Mongolia.
3. The Selenga River Basin area is 447 060 km2,
of which 148060 km2 (33%) is within Russia
and 299000 km2 (67%) within Mongolia,
comprises over 80% of the Baikal Basin
area.
4. The Selenga Delta of Lake Baikal is one of the
world’s largest fresh water deltas occupying
680 km2.
The main natural characteristics
of the Selenga Basin

Basin area of

Selenga
Baikal



The Selenga River Basin lies in
the ecotone zone of Southern
Siberia and Central Asia.
Significant area of the basin is
in the semiarid zone, and
includes forest, forest-steppe
and steppe ecosystems.
The length of the Selenga River
is 1,024 km (of which 409 km
are within Russia). The main
tributaries to Selenga are
Djida, Temnik, Chikoy, Khilok,
Uda, Orkhon, Tuul, Muren,
Egiin and Ider rivers.
The Mongolian part of the
Basin includes the Lake
Khubsulgul basin.
The main sources of water for
the basin’ rivers are rains and
thawing waters.
Diversity of Ecotopes
in the Selenga River Basin
Tree groups of Ecotopes are divided and packaged
by a dominant type of landscape-forming
processes:
•
•
•
Denudational ecotopes of mountains, existing
from rocky and semi-rocky materials, locally covered
by friable deposits;
Denudation-accumulative ecotopes of plateau,
mainly lava, covered by thin layers of pebble-loamy
deposits, and denudational, denudation-proluvial
intermountain plains of friable deposits;
Accumulative ecotopes of proluvium and alluvium,
aeolian, alluvial, and alluvial-deltoid plains.
Each of these groups combines a different types of
concrete ecotopes (19 types in the legend) and mesoecosystems (49 types in the legend).
Terrestrial Ecosystems Diversity
in the Selenga River Basin
- 206 combinations
of meso-ecosystems;
- More than 2400 contours;
- Average area of contour is
3,2 km2.
Source: Gunin P.D., Vostokova E.A., Bazha S.N., Prischepa A.V. (Ed.) 2006.
Ecosystems of Mongolia: diversity, present state and conservation. Moscow. Rosselhozacademia. 313 p.(in Russian)
Distribution of Ecosystems
The spatial structure of meso-ecosystems at the Basin area depends
from the latitude-zonal and high- altitude-zonal regularities, and
has a number of regional features (geographic location of this
area, its design and extents). Distribution of ecosystems type is a
subject of zonal patterns in general, and clearly expressed in
growing trends of diversity in direction from the north to the south
(number of steppe ecosystems increase - forest and forest-steppe
ecosystems decrease).
The wide strip of mountain-taiga forests frames the central part of the
Basin with a vast semi- ring. Thus, in the Basin along its southern
border is absolutely woodless and is characterized with domination
of dry-steppe ecosystems. The desert steppes and psammophilous
ecosystems of bumpy and barchan-bumpy sands are
completely presented here. The steppes are forwarding further to
north with a wide stripe, fraying out at 52° northern latitude.
The ecosystems of apical surfaces are located along the outer periphery
of taiga “semi-ring” as the individual islands, rarely as more or less
stretched stripes. This pattern is complicated with sub-latitude and
sub-meridian location of the intermountain cavins, to which edges
the steppe ecosystems are relevant.
The main Terrestrial Ecosystem types
in Russian and Mongolian part of the Basin
ECOSYSTEM
GROUPS
Automorphic
and semihydromorphic
natural
Hydromorphic
natural
Anthropogenic
Russian
Part
Mongolian
Part
Area, %
Area, %
Golets and nival
0,9
3,6
Mountain-tundra-meadow
1,3
5,5
Sub-golets
5,5
3,5
Northern Taiga
11,8
9,2
Middle Taiga
22,0
12,9
Southern Taiga
16,6
13,5
Forest Steppe
5,6
30,7
Moderate Dry Steppe
1,7
0,7
Dry Steppe
5,7
7,6
High Mountain Forest
8,4
7,8
Forest-steppe and Steppe
15,2
1,2
Tillage and Fallow
3,1
2,5
Technogenic and Urbanized
2,0
1,4
Total
100
ECOSYSTEM
TYPE
100
Floristic and Faunistic Diversity
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
About 2,000 species of vascular plants representing over 600 genera and 100
families grow in the Russian part of the Lake Baikal Basin. Here 180 species are
endemic. The region is the habitat of 380 species of bryophytes and about 450
species of lichens.
The fauna is also rather rich and diverse, with over 90 species of mammals, about
400 species of birds, over 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 35 species of
fish.
The flora of Mongolian part of the Selenga River Basin presented by 2,010 species
of vascular plants, which belong to 476 genera and 95 families.
The greatest floristic diversity characterizes the ecosystems of the Khangai (1,427
species) and Khentei-Chikoi (1,229 species) uplands. Those mountains are
inhabited by 37 endemic species of flora.
The Baikal Basin can be referred to the floristically rich regions in North Eurasia.
The fauna of the Lake Baikal Basin is also extremely diverse although it has not
been studied thoroughly so far.
The Baikal region is inhabited by about 3,500 species of coleopterous beetles.
The numbers of vertebrate species in terrestrial ecosystems reaches 540, of which
6 are amphibians, 6 are reptiles, 458 are birds and 70 are mammals.
Protected species of Flora and Fauna in
Buryatian and Mongolian part of the Basin
(by:Red Books of Mongolia, 1988; Buryatia, 1997)
Type
Buryatia
Northern
Mongolia
Fauna (total)
Mammals
Birds
Reptiles
Amphibias
Fish
Insects
Mollusca
129
51
25
70
4
3
5
22
0
10
21
0
2
3
14
1
Flora (total)
121
75
Vasculares
Bryophyta
Algae
Lichens
115
0
0
6
0
55
2
4
9
5
Mushrooms
The number of protected flora
and fauna species in Northern
Mongolia and Buryatia within
the boundaries of the Lake
Baikal Basin totals 129 animal
and 121 plant species, while
the Red Book of Mongolia
includes only 51 animal and 75
plant species.
Some of the species listed in
the Red Book of Buryatia are
absent from the Red Books of
Mongolia, although they are
found in those regions.
Anthropogenic Disturbance of the
Selenga River Basin
Diagnosis of Dangerous Degradation
Processes in terrestrial ecosystems
Using the detailed analysis of ecosystems condition and study
of dynamics of its components was established a main groups
of the most hazardous processes defining factors of impact and
ecological risks affecting biodiversity and environmental
safety:
1- Expansion of alkaloid and poisonous plants
2-Bush encroaching in pasture ecosystems
3-Deforestation of forest –steppe ecosystems
4-Desertification soil-plant cover
5-Impoverishment of hydromorphic
ecosystems
6 – Expansion of destructive harmful pests into
larch and birch forest
1. Expansion of alkaloid
plants into NaturalAnthropogenic Ecosystems
Invasion of Hemp species (Cannabis
sativa, C. ruderalis) , Ephedra sinica,
Peganum harmala e.t.c)
2. Bush encroaching in steppe
pasture ecosystems
Replacement of typical dominant grass
species by shrubs and dwarf subshrubs
Caragana microphylla, Juniperus
pseudosabina, Artemisia frigida,
Amygdalus pedunculata
3. Deforestation of foreststeppe ecosystems
Formation of new bush communities
(Betula fusca, Spiraea aquilegifolia,
Armeniaca sibirica, Amygdalus
pedunculata, Dasiphora fruticosa, etc.)
instead of coniferous forest
4. Impoverishment
of hydromorphic
ecosystems
Outgrowth of low- and non eatable
species : Iris Bungei, I. Lactea, I.
Dichotoma, Artemisia laciniata, A.
adamsii, A. commutata in degraded
ecosystems
5. Desertification of
soil-plant cover:
Depletion
of grass sod and humus horizons
and formation dune relief with
typical desert plants:
Agriophyllum pungens,
Corispermum mongolicum,
Psammochloa villosa etc.
6 Expansion of harmful
destructive pests into
larch and birch forest
Siberian moth
(Dendrolimus sibiricus)
Gipsy moth
(Limantria dispar)
SPA network analysis
Due to intensive anthropogenic
transformation in terrestrial ecosystems
of the Selenga River Basin (up to 65% of
the area), the role of present and planned
SPAs is a key issue for ecosystems
protection and rehabilitation.
Specially Protected Areas, Mongolian Part
•
•
•
The total area of
Mongolian SPNS is
205,300 sq. km (13% of
the country’s territory),
and those situated in the
Baikal Basin have an
area of 24,800 sq. km,
or 8.5% of the Basin
territory.
In Mongolia, SPNS are
located in their highest
concentration in the
Western, Southern and
Eastern parts of the
Basin.
However, there are
practically no SPNS in
the central part of the
Basin.
Area of presence under protection
by the type of ecosystems (Mongolian part)
Area,
sq. km
Good: 1,2,3,4 – High-mountain nival
and loaches;
7 – Larch and cedar-larch sparse growth of trees
on the high-mountain and middle mountain ecotopes;
12,13 – cedar and larch forest with bushes on the
frosen podsolic soils.
Poor or nonpresented: 5,6 – sub-golets types with larch,
cedar sparce grows elfin wood; 14 – middle taiga birch and
pine forest on podzolic soils; 18 – south-taiga pine-larch
forest with birch and bushes on turfy-podzolic soils;
21 – steppe meadows in mountain; 38 – bushy birch forest
with larch in comb. with bunchgrass meadows;
41 – high grassy marshes with reed and willow on
the meadow-swampy soils.
Ecosystem index
Specially Protected Areas, Russian Part
•
•
•
Almost the entire part of
the Basin located in
Irkutsk Province enjoys
protection and constitutes
an almost uninterrupted
belt along the Western
lake shore.
In the territory of
Buryatia, the largest
protected sites are also
situated close to Lake
Baikal (outside from The
Selenga basin), while
others are mostly small
separated temporary
reserves.
In the Republic of
Buryatia, the area of
protected sites is 3.6
million hectares, which
constitutes 10% of the
Baikal Basin territory, but
less than 3,5% of the
Selenga River Basin.
Area of presence under protection
by the type of ecosystems (Russian part)
Sq. km
Good: 13 – High-mountain Forests;
19 – forest-steppe and forest on plains of river
deltas; 44, 46 – swampy meadows with willow
and reed.
Poor or nonpresented:
1, 2 - high mountain nival;
11- birch, alder and cedar forest on frosen
podsolic soils; 21- steppe meadows with
bushes on the meadow-chernozem soils;
31, 32 – steppe with caragana and
bunchgrasses on the sandy lite chestnut soils;
39 – motley grass meadows with cereals and
willow on the flood-meadow soils.
Index of ecosystem
Location of existing and planned SPAs in the
•In terms of SPAs
Selenga River Basin
optimization in the
Selenga Transboundary
Cluster Biosphere
Reserve
?
?
Baikal basin the
most obvious and
urgent task is
establishment of a
transboundary
cluster biosphere
reserve in its mid
part, which basic
function should not
be only
conservation of
inundated-valley,
mountain-forest
and mountainsteppe ecosystems,
but the
establishment of
ecological and geochemical
monitoring in the
central part of the
Baikal basin as well.
Location of planned SPA in the Selenga
River Basin
• Ecotone character of Baikal basin biota, prevalence of mountainforest (50,5% in the Russian part and 35,5% – in Mongolian) and
mountain-steppe (11,3% and 31,9% respectively) ecosystems at its
territory, as well as their high spatial mosaics imply the cluster
organization of infrastructure of a TBR in the central part of the
Selenga basin.
• Establishment of TBR should be grounded on the following three
basic principles which determine the importance of each parts in
conservation of ecosystem and biological diversity:
- existence of aboriginal and pseudo-aboriginal communities –
ecosystems of virgin and weakly disturbed dark and light
coniferous forests;
- existence of unique mountain forest-steppe ecosystems in Sothern
Siberia and Northern Mongolia;
- existence of endemics, relict and rare species in plant associations.
In conclusion
•
Implementation of planned
activities on the establishment
of a new cluster biosphere
reserve in a mid part of the
Selenga River Basin would
allow for not only improve the
conservation of ecosystem
and biological diversity of
unique Baikal region, but
detect beforehand and
prevent adverse
anthropogenic alterations in
both the terrestrial basin
ecosystems and the Baikal
aqua-systems.
* * *
Спасибо за внимание!
Thank You for attention