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

Introduction

The Amur-Heilong River Basin
Related maps, pictures, links

The Amur-Heilong is the largest river basin in northeast Asia. It flows eastwards from the Mongolian Plateau through 13 provinces of Mongolia, China, and Russia and covers a tiny bit on North Korea at Songhua River headwaters. (look map -Amur-Heilong on the Globe). The Amur-Heilong River is one of the world's largest free-flowing rivers at approximately 4,444 kilometers in length and its watershed exceeds 2 million square kilometers. The river forms the border between China and Russia for over 3,000 km, making it one of the world's longest border rivers.

Amur-Heilong River basin is largely mountainous. Mountain ranges, ridges, foothills, and plateaus cover two-thirds of the region. Henty, Great Hinggan, Stanovoy, Tukuringra, Bureinsky, Sikhote-Alin, Changbaishan, Small Hinggan are principal mountain ranges of the area. Most mountains are low and covered with forest, ranging from 300 to 1,000 meters in elevation. Only isolated mountain ranges and peaks, covering just over seven percent of the territory, reach elevations exceeding 2,000 meters. The area covered by plains is also large. Extensive, hilly Daurian Steppe plateau occupies the south-west part of the basin in Mongolia, Russia, and Inner Mongolia. The main plains and lowlands are located between the Zeya and Bureya Rivers, near Khanka Lake, in the valley of the Lower Amur, at the confluence of the Amur-Heilong with Songhua and Ussuri Rivers (Sanjiang Plain), and in the middle reaches of the Songhua at the confluence of the Nen and Second Songhua Rivers, which drain the Song-Nen Plain.

The basin is rich in biological diversity and supports thousands of species and many ecosystem types. This vast area is famous for rare cranes and storks, tigers and leopards, and endemic fishes. The biological richness is explained by a great diversity of landscapes such as floodplain wetlands, steppe, alpine tundra, mixed broadleaf-coniferous forest, and boreal taiga. Approximately 10% of the basin territory is covered by protected areas, and some are nominated as Ramsar wetlands, UNESCO biosphere reserves, World heritage sites, etc. Despite uniqueness and grandeur of many natural areas they are little known by outside world and have not become international tourism attractions. So far national nature conservation programs and international environmental agreements and efforts are insufficient and cannot prevent rapid deterioration of environment and biodiversity loss in Amur basin.

Degree of human impact on the environment in Amur River basin is uneven, but already quite substantial in all countries. Plains support extensive agriculture, especially in China, while other dominant land-use types are extraction of mineral resources, and forestry. Development of international trade spurs construction of transportation infrastructure, oil&gas pipelines. Several major tributaries are alredy blocked by hydropower dams, while lower reaches are severely affected by water pollution from industry and agriculture. Excessive harvest of biological resources: timber, fish, terrestrial wildlife is also triggered by international market demand. Poor land-management practices and accelerating climate change lead to widespread wildfires and land degradation.

Amur-Heilong River basin exemplifies transboundary regions in need of shared environmental responsibility. Land-use patterns and cultural traditions and pace of economic development are drastically different in Russia, Mongolia and China, but sustainable development requires cooperation in the field of environmental protection and nature resource management

 

Our disk is designed to help You to explore Amur-Heilong River Basin moving in any direction You want.
Disk map provides acceess to all resources at once, while following links You may navigate to any texts, maps and pictures.
Bon voyage! ( welcome to introductory tour via photogallery )

Maps:

Amur-Heilong on the Globe

Basemap of Amur Heilong River basin

Topography of Amur Heilong River basin

Political divisions

 

Photo: Introductory tour of amur basin

Border scenery

 

GIS: Amur-Heilong Natural Heritage

 

Dragon River Gorge (Photo by E.Simonov)

 

 

 

 

Also look:

Introduction

Invitation

Guidance from compiler.

Amur-Heilong River Basin at a glance

Table on Amur comparison with other basins

Natural and Cultural Heritage of Amur.

Acknowledgements

Guide to environmental information sources.

Useful links on Amur-HeilongRiver Basin issues

Amur-Heilong River Basin Reader – link to full PDF and References

Glossary

Abbreviations

 

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