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Ecosystems and ecoregions
Northeast China Plain deciduous forests
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The Northeast China Plain consists of a low-lying alluvial basin that originates at the north end of the Bay of Bohai and extends northward, tracing the catchment of the Liao River.  At the top of the Liao watershed, the lowlands extend across a low divide to follow the Songhua River toward its confluence with the Amur-Heilong River.  Natural vegetation on the plain is deciduous broadleaf forest dominated by oak or a mixture of hardwood species.  Many areas are fairly dry while others are prone to seasonal flooding.  Natural plant communities here probably once included woodland, grassland and flooded grassland (swamp) components, with closed canopy forest restricted to the wetter, but well-drained sites.  The landscape had a forest-steppe character. Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica)remains as an important species with Daurian birch (Betula dahurica)and the shrubs bush clover (Lespedeza bicolor)and hazel (Corylus heterophylla) once dominated the plains along the Songhua River.  Scrublands and the understory of drier more open forest stands support thorny shrubs such as Daurian buckthorn(Rhamnus dahuricus), hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)and Daurian rose (Rosa dahurica).
Deciduous forests of the Northeast China Plain have been largely replaced by agriculture.  Today, remnant forest patches can be seen in places where they have been protected for religious reasons, or where the land is steep and inaccessible.  There is no remaining large example of this ecosystem in its natural state.
The Northeast China Plain has been targeted for afforestation by the Chinese Government.  The Northeast Shelterbelt Project is intended to protect farmland by reducing wind deposition of sand from the loess hills to the west, and to help agricultural areas retain water.  This is the eastern part of "a great green wall" planned to extend across northern China by 2050.  Opportunities exist for planting this forest in a way that will promote restoration of native habitat, although this concept has yet to be adopted by project planners.

Poplar plantations. Grain for Green program. Duerbote. Heilongjiang. (Photo by E.Simonov)

Map collection: Land cover, ecosystems and ecoregions



Topography of Amur Heilong River Basin

Landuse/Land cover –SPOT satellite imagery

Dominant soil types of Amur River Basin

Vegetation map

Vegetation density

Change in Forest Cover in Amur Heilong River Basin


Terrrestrial ecoregions

Global 200 Ecoregions

Freshwater ecoregions

Major protected areas of Amur-Heilong


GIS:Soil and vegetation

GIS: Land cover/Land use according to satellite imagery

GIS: Human impact


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:

Tiger forests - Temperate forests:

Ussuri broadleaf and mixed forests

Manchurian mixed forests

Changbai Mountains mixed forests

Global 200 Dauria Steppe:

Nen River grassland

Global 200 Amur Wetlands


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