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Ecosystems and ecoregions
East Siberian taiga
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Larch forests dominate the region because they are able to withstand the extreme climate conditions.  Eastern Siberian floral communities, typical of permafrost taiga regions, are found in the upper reaches of the Zeya and Amur-Heilong Rivers.  This community has comparatively low species diversity and forests are mainly composed of Siberian and Daurian larch (Larix sibirica, L. dahurica/L.gmelini).  This formation occupies a larger area than any other forest type in Russia.  The dark coniferous taiga is distributed in a mosaic pattern in the more-protected areas, with Pinus sibirica, Picea obovata and Abies sibirica dominating.  To the south, the proportion of pine-larch and pine forests increases, and small-leaf forests with birch Betula and poplar Populus begin to appear.  Grass and dwarf shrub-grass as well as stepped pine and pine-larch forests are common in the tributaries of the upper Amur-Heilong.  Meadow and floodplain plant communities dominate the terrain, forged by the large Zeya and Bureya Rivers, and other smaller rivers and streams.
Eastern Siberian faunal communities are found in the northern area of the Russian Far East between the Amur-Heilong and Zeya Rivers, in the upper half of the Zeya River basin, and the mountains of the Amur-Okhotsk divide.  This group includes Eurasian species such as brown bear(Ursus arctos) and wolf(Canis lupus), ermine (Mustela erminea), Siberian weasel (Mustela sibirica), red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Siberian jay (Perisoreus infaustus), great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), as well as species characteristic of eastern Siberia such as moose moose, (Alces alces), Amur lemming (Lemmus amurensis), and northern black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix).

The East Siberian taiga still contains vast pristine habitats but only a fraction of these are located in protected areas and most lie outside the Amur River basin.  Zeysky Zapovednik (National Nature Reserve or Strictly Protected Area) was founded in Amurskaya Province to study impacts of the Zeya reservoir on natural ecosystems.  Substantial changes were recorded in adjacent forest ecosystems (Darman et al. 2000).  The existing network of protected areas is not sufficient for such an extensive and pristine region.  The diversity of the taiga ecosystem is not completely represented in protected areas and the few protected areas are separated by great distances.

The main threats to the ecoregion are widespread forest fires, intensive clear-cuts in the central and southern taiga sub-zones, and poaching.

Elk (Moose) (Photo by V.Solkin)

Map collection: Land cover, ecosystems and ecoregions



Topography of Amur Heilong River Basin

Landuse/Land cover –SPOT satellite imagery

Change in Forest Cover in Amur Heilong River Basin


Floristic zones

Fauna types

Terrrestrial ecoregions

Global 200 Ecoregions

Freshwater ecoregions


Ecoregions& landscapes photogalleries:

Stanovoi Range: taiga and tundra


GIS:Soil and vegetation

GIS: Land cover/Land use according to satellite imagery


Also look:

Landscape diversity in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Landscape changes throughout recent geological history

Amur-Heilong River Basin Ecoregional zoning

Global 200 ecoregions in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Boreal forests of Amur-Heilong River Basin:

East Siberian taiga

Trans-Baikal coniferous forests

Da Xing'an-Dzhagdy Mountains coniferous forests

Okhotsk-Manchurian taiga


Alpine ecosystems:

Trans-Baikal Bald Mountain Tundra


Tiger forests - Temperate forests:

Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests

Manchurian mixed forests

Northeast China Plain deciduous forests

Changbai Mountains mixed forests


Global 200 Dauria Steppe:

Daurian forest steppe

Mongolian-Manchurian grassland

Nen River grassland


Global 200 Amur Wetlands:

Amur meadow steppe

Suifen-Khanka meadows and forest meadows

Wetlands of Lower Amur Mountain Valley Ecoregion


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