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Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range. Ussury Forests
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For most of the Sikhote-Alin Mountains, the lower forest belts (250-350 m asl) are made up primarily of mixed broadleaf species such as Manchurian ash , Japanese elm, and Japanese poplar.  Species composition changes abruptly to Korean pine and broadleaf forests up to 700 m.  Typical groundcover in the forest understory includes ginseng, a highly sought-after medicinal plant that is now severely depleted.  The highest elevation belt of true trees consists mainly of Khingan fir and Ajan spruce forests up to 1,300 m.  Higher still – at about 1,400-1,500 m – stands of Erman’s birch and dwarf shrubs are interspersed with Manchurian alder and subalpine meadows.  Mountain tundra of shrubs, lichens, and grasses is found on some of the tallest mountains in the region.

The large number of relic species in the temperate zone is due to the unique geological history of the region.  For example, sixty species of forest orchids are found only in the Russian Far East.
The variety of habitats in the basin supports a diverse fauna.  One of the unique features is the weaving together of different species far from their geographical centers of origin.  The most species-rich areas of the basin are those where ranges of northern taiga species overlap with those of southeastern Asian communities (Changbaishan, small Hinggan Ridge, southern Primorsky Province, forests along the Amur-Heilong River, and along tributaries of the Ussuri-Wusuli River.  Along biogeographic boundaries, brown bears coexist with Asiatic black bears, Amur tigers cross paths with lynx, and both Manchurian and mountain hares scurry from predators.

Rhododendron flowers at Pidan Mountain (Photo by WWF)




Amur-Heilong on the Globe

Topography of Amur Heilong River basin



Introductory tour of Amur basin


GIS: Amur-Heilong Natural  Heritage


Sikhote-Alin Range near Bikin River (Photo by Y.Bersenev)


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