Environment

Ecological Regions Of The People's Republic Of China

The People’s Republic of China encompasses an area of 3,705 square miles. Over this large tract of land are many different landscapes. China is covered with deserts, forests, mountains, and wetlands. Its biodiversity is found throughout various biomes such as desert and xeric shrublands, montane grasslands and shrublands, temperate coniferous forests, flooded grasslands and savannas, temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, and tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests. This article takes a look at some of the ecological regions within these biomes.

Alashan Plateau Semi-Desert

The Alashan Plateau semi-desert is part of the desert and xeric shrubland biome. The plateau is located in the southwestern region of the Gobi Desert. The plateau rises up above the desert to heights between 3,300 to 4,900 feet, its top is mainly covered in flat, barren land. Surrounded by the Yellow and Ejin rivers and the Qilian mountains, the Alashan Plateau has some plant and animal life. The most common plants include the field woodworm, acacia, and the prickly convolvulus. The animals that can be found here include the antelope, hedgehog, fox, lizard, wolf, sparrow, crane, and crested lark. This area is threatened due to increasing human population that the government has encouraged in an effort to turn this land into agricultural land. The increase in humans has resulted in an increase of hunting which has, in turn, decreased the number of gazelle and falcons in this ecoregion.

Altai Alpine Meadow and Tundra

The Altai Alpine meadow and tundra is located within a montane grasslands and shrublands biome. Located between plains and mountains, the Altai receives significant rainfall which creates many different waterways such as lakes, marsh, and rivers. These waterways feed into some of the longest rivers in the world. Due to its changing altitudes, the area is filled with a wide diversity of plants. This ecoregion is an important habitat to the endangered snow leopard and its food sources. Other animals found here include the lynx, musk deer, Altai pika, and arctic ground squirrel. Because the region remains difficult to access, it has not suffered under a great deal of environmental threats. There is some mining and hunting in the region, however, that has not left the Altai entirely unchanged.

Altai Montane Forest and Forest Steppe

The Altai montane forest and forest steppe ecoregion is home to 974 plant species and 60 endemic species. The Argali wild sheep, snow leopard, Siberian roe deer, reindeer, and brown bear all live within these mountains. Given the wide forestland within these mountains, many bird species also find shelter here, including the golden eagle, snow cock, dalmatian pelican, and great bustard. The region is threatened by global climate change, illegal poaching, human development, overgrazing, deforestation, and water contamination. Some nonprofits are currently working to curb these threats by preventing poaching, training border personnel to stop illegal species trade, and promoting public environmental education.

Amur Meadow Steppe

The Amur meadow steppe is located within the flooded grasslands and savannas biome. It is filled with bogs, floodplains, mires, and wet meadows along the Amur-Heilong river. The area floods seasonally and the rivers are home to salmon and sturgeon. The wetlands provide nesting and resting grounds for thousands of birds every year, including the swan geese, Far Eastern curlew, and Baikal teal. The plants are also unique to this ecoregion, some endangered such as the sword-leaved iris and pygmy waterlily. Pollution from nearby agriculture threatens the waters and future plans to build hydroelectric dams along the rivers will drastically impede the migratory path of several fish species.

As previously mentioned, China is an extremely large country with many different biomes and ecological regions. Below is a complete list of these areas.

Ecological Regions of the People's Republic of China (as per World Wide Fund for Nature) Biome
Alashan Plateau semi-desert Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Altai alpine meadow and tundra Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Altai montane forest and forest steppe Temperate Coniferous Forests
Amur meadow steppe Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
Bohai Sea saline meadow Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
Central China loess plateau mixed forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Central Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Changbai Mountains mixed forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Changjiang Plain evergreen forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Da Hinggan-Dzhagdy Mountains conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Daba Mountains evergreen forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Daurian forest steppe Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands
Eastern Gobi desert steppe Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Emin Valley steppe Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands
Guizhou Plateau broadleaf and mixed forests Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Hainan Island monsoon rain forests Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Helanshan montane conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Hengduan Mountains subalpine conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Huang He Plain mixed forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Junggar Basin semi-desert Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Manchurian mixed forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Mongolian-Manchurian grassland Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands
Nenjiang River grassland Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
North Tibetan Plateau-Kunlun Mountains alpine desert Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Northeast China Plain deciduous forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Northeastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Nujiang Langcang Gorge alpine conifer and mixed forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Ordos Plateau steppe Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Pamir alpine desert and tundra Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Qaidam Basin semi-desert Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Qilian Mountains conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Qilian Mountains subalpine meadows Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Qin Ling Mountains deciduous forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Qionglai-Minshan conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Sichuan Basin evergreen broadleaf forests Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
South China Sea Islands Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
South China-Vietnam subtropical evergreen forests Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Southeast Tibet shrub and meadows Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Taklimakan desert Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Tarim Basin deciduous forests and steppe Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Tian Shan foothill arid steppe Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands
Tian Shan montane conifer forests Temperate Coniferous Forests
Tian Shan montane steppe and meadows Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Tibetan Plateau alpine shrub and meadows Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Ussuri-Wusuli meadow and forest meadow Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
Yarlung Zambo arid steppe Montane Grasslands and Shrublands
Yellow Sea saline meadow Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
Yunnan Plateau subtropical evergreen forests Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

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