Included here are the Altai Mountains, the Sayan Mountains, the Salair Ridge, the Khangai Plateau, montane Shoria, the Minusinsk Basin and the Khamar-Daban Range.

Altai-Sayan Scree Vegetation

In the semi-arid and arid climatic sectors Artemisia santolinifolia and Berberis sibirica usually dominate mountain mobile screes of various lithology. A feature of this formation is the predominance of draught-adapted shrubs and semi-shrubs. Other species include Artemisia rutifolia and the Siberian endemic Atraphaxis laetevirens (Polygonaceae). The former often dominates the most draught prone areas. Associated herbaceous species typical include xerophytes like Elytrigia geniculata, Erysimum flavum, Panzerina canescens, Seseli buchtormense, Vicia costata, Vincetoxicum sibiricum and the endemic Euphorbia tshuiensis (Euphorbiaceae). On moderately dry screes in the forest-steppe and steppe belts Grossularia acicularis and Berberis sibirica are often the characteristic species, while others include Artemisia gmelinii, Cotoneaster melanocarpus, Galium verum and Spiraea media, but here the most draught-adapted species are usually absent. This formation is typically found on steep south-facing slopes in the narrow parts of large river valleys. A different community can be found on south facing gravel screes in Western Sayan. Here species such as Elytrigia geniculata and Artemisia santolinifolia are typical together with Achnatherum sibiricum, Artemisia frigida, Caragana pygmaea, Chamaerhodos erecta, Cleistogenes squarrosa, Goniolimon speciosum, Poa transbaicalica, Potentilla acaulis and the endemic or near endemic Helictotrichum altaicum (Poaceae) and Schizonepeta annua (Lamiaceae). In places, however, the obligate petrophytic shrub Artemisia santolinifolia can form almost monodominant stands. On the most humid screes in, for example, the forest-steppe belts of northern Altai, Sambucus sibirica and Grossularia acicularis usually become the main species while others include Humulus lupulus, Rosa acicularis, Rubes idaeus, Senecio nemorensis and Urtica cannabina.

Altai-Sayan Rock Crevice Formations

In the most humid northern and northwestern peripheral parts of the Altai-Sayan mountain system succulents like Sedum hibridum and to a lesser extent Hylotelephium ewersii dominate rock crevice and stable screes. Other characteristic succulents may include Hylotelephium populifolium and Orostachys spinosa, while typical non-succulents are Dracocephalum nutans, Galium paniculatum, Kitagawia baicalensis, Phlox sibirica, Veronica spicata and the endemic or near endemic Euphorbia altaica (Euphorbiaceae). In the more draught prone areas in southern West Sayan, Selaginella sanguinolenta becomes one of the main rock crevice species. Others include Aster alpinus, Galium coriaceum, Pulsatilla turczanovii, Woodsia ilvensis and the Siberian endemic or near endemic Achnatherum sibiricum (Poaceae), Eritrichium pectinatum (Boraginaceae), Helictotrichon altaicum and Poa transbaicalica (Poaceae). This association is widespread in Western Sayan, where it occurs on south-facing slopes, but appears to be absent from the Altai.

Altai-Sayan Steppe (information required)

Altai-Sayan Alpine Meadows and Tundra (information required)


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