AMUR-HEILONG RIVER BASIN

 

All chapters:

Introduction

Climate

Waters and water management

Ecosystems and ecoregions

Species diversity and use of biological resources

Nature conservation: econet and protected areas

Countries & cultures

Economy

Land use

International policy

Land use

General Land-Use Trends in Amur-Heilong River Basin
Related maps, pictures, links

The contrasts in land use are large and widening among Amur-Heilong River basin countries (see Table below). All three basin countries have already passed through or are now nearing the end of their "frontier development" periods that were characterized by frenzied exploitation without concern for or protection of natural resources. This leaves all three countries at the doorstep of an era during which land use must be driven by adjustment to natural and economic conditions if ecosystem collapse is to be avoided and valuable resources are to be recovered. Despite obvious indicators that highlight the unsustainability of past development strategies, recent decisions by national and local government continue to follow past practices. Examples of recent government actions that demonstrate a business as usual approach to development include:
1.The continued extensive conversion of wildlands to farmlands and pasture in China, typically without full consideration of carrying capacity or adverse impacts to ecosystems;
2.The degradation of nomadic traditions in Mongolia driven by rapid political changes in Mongolian society and concomitant resource degradation;
3.The economic crisis in Russia, driven by a prolonged period of haphazard governmental reforms that has lead to chaos in the administration of natural resources.

4.Unsustainable Timber harvest in the Russian Far East and East Siberia stimulated by growing volumes of international timber trade.

5.Growing area affected by Oil&gas extraction and transportation impacts and mining impacts in Russia and Mongolia.

Land is used much more intensively in China than in Russia or Mongolia. This is driven in part by differences in topography, climate, and soil conditions, but also in part by social and political processes. Variations in land use in the Amur-Heilong River basin can be seen in arable land distribution, the high percent of unused arable land in Mongolia and Russia which are often affected by fire, and the high percent of degraded lands in Mongolia and China. Degradation and land transformation are more intense in the western parts of the basin, particularly in the Daurian Steppe Eco-Region.
Despite aggressive development throughout the 20th century after modern transportation network, connected countries of the region, the Amur Basin still has retained vast areas of wildland. These large and often contiguous tracts of forest, grasslands, and wetlands offer hope that an opportunity remains to preserve regional biodiversity in the face of continuing development

TABLE: Land-use in the Amur-Heilong basin and its vicinity by country and land-use category [million hectares (percent)]

Amur-Heilong basin portion
Land use category
Cropland
Forest
Urban
Nomadic pasture
Water
Waste-land
Other
Total
Russia
7.9
(4.4)
119.1
(66.7)
0.7
(0.4)
14.8
(8.3)
3.0
(1.7)
16.7
(9.0)
16.5
(9.2)
178.7
Mongolia
0.2
(0.7)
1.6
(5.6)
0.1
(0.3)
21.5
(75.2)
0.1
(0.4)
0.5
(1.7)
4.6
(16.1)
28.6
China
26.3
(27.7)
39.0
(41.0)
2.9
(3.0)
10.3
(10.8)
3.4
(3.6)
9.4
(9.9)
3.8
(4.0)
95.1
Basin total
34.4
(11.4)
159.7
(52.8)
3.7
(1.2)
46.6
(15.4)
9.8
(3.2)
26.6
(8.8)
21.6
(7.2)
302.4

Sources: Statistical yearbooks of respective countries 1997-2001, (by Karakin, Sheingauz).

See land-use trends in three countries

 

Dead calves in overgrazed meadow in Inner Mongolia (Photo by E.Simonov)

 

Map collection: Land use and agriculture

Abandoned cropland in Zeya Bureya Plains

Frequency of fires in tiger/leopard habitat in Southern Primorsky Province by WCS

Density of cropland in China in 2000 (by Liu 2005)

Cropland change in China in 1990-2000 (by Liu 2005)

Notheast China irrigation (by F.Lasserre)

 

Map collection: Forestry

Maps: Change in Forest Cover in Amur Heilong River Basin

Map collection: Oil & gas

Maps: Russian oil & gas exports

Map collection: Transportation

Maps: Northeast Asia Transportation ( TumenNET GEF project map)

 

Photo:

Agriculture in China

Agriculture in Russia

Agriculture in Mongolia

Wild fires

Land degradation

Oil & gas and mining

Transportation infrastructure

Logging and timber trade

Non-timber forest products

 

GIS: Political geography, railroads and pipelines

GIS:Forestry impacts on Korean Pine forests

 

Also look:

Recent changes in land-use in three countries

 

Agriculture:

Amur Agriculture

Agricultural development in Northeast China

Agricultural development in Eastern Mongolia

Russian agriculture

Russian agricultural land and production in RFE-tables

Northeast Asia cooperation in agriculture

Environmental impacts of argiculture

Land degradation and desertification

Conversion of wildlands to farmland

 

Forestry:

Timber harvest in the Russian Far East

Salmon vs forestry

Major human-induced impacts on forest ecosystems of RFE (table)

Timber trade

 

Other land-use issues:

Fire

Nature tourism in the Amur/Heilong River Basin

Transport infrastructure impacts

Oil & gas Basin

Oil & gas impacts

Russian mining

Mongolian mining

 

Full contents
Full digest
Full atlas
All pictures
GIS