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Ecosystems and ecoregions

Okhotsk-Manchurian Taiga

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This ecoregion represents the northernmost extent of Manchurian species.  It experiences climatic influence from the Pacific Ocean, therefore has somewhat warmer winters and cooler summers than ecoregions further inland.  Okhotsk-Kamchatka floral communities are found in the lower Amur-Heilong River, on the west coast of the Okhotsk Sea.  This flora has fewer species, but many are found in high mountain areas, including a large number of arctic-alpine and arctic species.    The mountain ranges hugging the Okhotsk Sea play a major role in buffering impacts from the ocean, allowing many of these plant communities to flourish.  Endemics with very narrow ranges, such as two subspecies of rockfoil (Saxifraga staminose, S. svetlanae)are found here.   
Endemic plant species of the northern Sikhote-Alin region include Artemisia punctigera, Astragalus sachalinensis, and Oxytropis helenae.  Many plants here are relics of the Tertiary Period.  Typical species include Yeddo spruce (Picea jezoensis), Khingan fir (Abies nephrolepis), and Erman’s birch (Betula ermanii).  Rare species along the Okhotsk Sea coast include lady-slipper orchids (Cypripedium macranthon, C. guttatum), Bergenia pacifica, and peony (Paeonia obovata).
Okhotsk-Kamchatka or Beringian faunal communities are found in the northeast Amur-Heilong basin.  Their range extends southeast from the Okhotsk Sea coast following the western slopes of the Pribrezhny Range to the source of the Uda River, then southward to the upper reaches of the Selemdzha and Bureya Rivers.  Representatives of this fauna group are also found on the slopes of the Sikhote-Alin Range and the mountains in the Lower Amur River.  Dark coniferous taiga forests are important habitat for mammals such as brown bear, wolverine, and sable (Martes zibellina), and birds including black-billed capercaillie (Tetrao urogalloides) and spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes).  Intact fir forests are the primary habitat of musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) and the only home for the endangered Siberian spruce grouse.
Bureisky Zapovednik is the largest nature reserve in the ecoregion and it includes fragments of the mountain tundra ecoregion, while Komsomolsky Zapovednik is the closest protected area to the banks of the Amur River.


Taiga near De-Kastri. Khabarovsky Province. (Photo by E.Egidarev)


Map collection: Land cover, ecosystems and ecoregions



Topography of Amur Heilong River Basin

Landuse/Land cover –SPOT satellite imagery

Vegetation map

Major protected areas of Amur-Heilong

Floristic zones

Fauna types

Terrrestrial ecoregions

Global 200 Ecoregions

Freshwater ecoregions



Way to the Ocean.Okhotsk - Manchurian Taiga

Siberian grouse and its relatives


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

Trans-Baikal Bald Mountain Tundra

Tiger forests - Temperate forests:

Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests

Manchurian mixed forests

Global 200 Dauria Steppe:


Global 200 Amur Wetlands:


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