Enormous Wetland Ecosystem Network
Rivers and lakes in the Amur-Heilong River Basin provide habitats for about 130 freshwater fish species, including seven species of migratory salmon and Kaluga – the largest sturgeon in the world that can weigh up to 1000 kilograms. At present, no dams block the river’s main channel, which runs nearly 4,500 kilometres from Mongolia into the Tartar Strait of the Okhotsk Sea. The river floods its banks between 4 and 6 times during the summer, mostly during the monsoon season in July and August, when it swells to 10-25 kilometres in width in years of heavy rainfall. Wetlands on the plains of the Amur-Heilong River are globally significant for migration of tens of thousands of geese and hundreds of thousands of ducks and waders. Endangered species such as Far Eastern curlew (Numenius madagascarensis), Scaly-sided merganser (Mergus scquamatus), Swan goose (Anser cygnoides), Baikal teal (Anas formosa) and many others depend on these stop-over areas. Each spring and autumn, birds stop here to feed and rest along the East Asian migration routes between nesting areas in the north and wintering grounds in the Yangtze River valley in China and on the Korean Peninsula and the islands of Japan.
As much as 95 percent of the world’s nesting population of Oriental white storks (Ciconia boyciana), is found in the Amur-Heilong floodplains, along with 65 percent of the Red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), and 90 percent of the White-naped crane (Grus vipio) populations. This is the only place in the world where one can simultaneously observe 6 species of cranes on the same patch of wetland.
The Amur-Heilong contains some of the best preserved temperate forest ecosystems and still harbours about 500 Amur tigers and the last remaining viable wild population of Far Eastern leopard, estimated at less than 40 individuals. This mixed temperate forest ecosystem depends on the Korean Pine -“tree of life” producing food (pine nuts) and shelter: where there is Korean pine one also finds wild boar, which is the tiger's primary prey. Ginseng grows only under the canopy of Korean pine stands. The value of a living tree is ten times higher than its timber. Here Brown bears coexist with Asiatic black bears, Far Eastern leopard cross paths with lynx (Felix lynx). Korean pine-broadleaved forests are very often the only source of income for residents of remote villages.
The western part of Amur Heilong -Dauria - is the best-preserved example of Eurasian grassland and this region continues to support huge populations of larger migratory vertebrates - Mongolian Gazelle (Procapra gutturosa). Wetland-grassland landscapes withstand periodic droughts common in this climate. Cyclical climate fluctuation causes greater biodiversity and triggers migrations of many animal species. The area is also an important breeding and stopover site for millions of birds on several Asian flyways. Dauria is the only part of the Amur River Basin where indigenous peoples can continue their nomadic lifestyle.
Timber firm could axe endangered Amur tiger habitat
The discovery of plans to log key Amur tiger habitat in a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site has ...
China, Russia provinces agree to first transboundary protected area to conserve Amur tigers
Jilin province of China and neighbouring Primorsky province in Russia agreed today to collaborate ...
France gives major boost to international water treaty
France is set to become the 20th country to sign up to a key international convention governing the ...
Disappearing Greater Mekong tigers underscore global threats
Tiger numbers have fallen by more than 70 percent in slightly more than a decade in the Greater ...
Land of Leopard in Flames
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Amur tigers threatened by economic crisis
Loggers in Russia’s Far East increasingly are cutting down Korean cedar pine, raising concerns that ...
Skin of rare Amur leopard discovered in car
Police are investigating the killing of an Amur Leopard – one of the rarest animals on earth with ...
Steal for it, shoot for it or sign for it - Stark choices facing a world running short on water
Bringing into force an existing UN global agreement on sharing and caring for international fresh ...
Tracking the elusive Amur tiger by foot, ski, and snowmobile
Researchers in the Russian Far East are tracking the elusive Amur tiger by foot, ski, and ...
Outrage as protected forests go under the hammer in Russia
Protected forest in Russia including a “maternity hospital” for the Amur tiger and unique Korean ...