Included here is the Mongolian Altai Mountains, the basin of the Great Lakes between the Altai and Hangayn mountains, the Ala Shan, the Gobi and Taklimakan deserts, the Ordos Plateau, the Tsaidam and Tarim basins and the Lob Nor depression.

Mongolian Steppe

This extensive formation covering about one million square kilometers extends in a broad band along the edge of the Inner Mongolia Plateau west of the Great Khingan Range covering most of Ninghsia Province and touching the northern boundaries of the Hopeh, Shansi and Shensi provinces. The area is characterized by sand dunes, solonchaks and the so-called neutral or slighly alkaline chestnut soils. Typical steppe grasses include Achnatherum splendens, Agropyron cristatum, Aneurolepidium pseudoagropyrum, Cleistogenes squarrosa, Elymus dahuricus, Koeleria gracilis and many species of Stipa. Shrubs and dwarf trees may also be present. These typically include Artemisia adamsii, A. desertorum, A. frigida, A. halodendron, A. sacrorum, A. sibirica, Caragana microphylla and various species of Atriplex and Ephedra. Also present are various legumes like Astragalus melitotoides, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Lespedeza dahurica and Thermopsis lanceolata. Shrub diversity, however, increases in the sand dunes areas of the northeast. Here species such as Agriophyllum arenarium, Atraphaxis mandshurica, Crataegus dahurica, Juniperus chinensis, Malus buccata, Oxytropis psammocharis and Ribes diacantha can be found. Trees are largely absent but adjacent to rivers and other water bodies Populus cathayana, P. euphratica, P. simonii, Salix matsudana and Ulmus pumila may occur and Pinus sylvestris var mongolica can be found on stabilized sand dunes. In extreme desert, steppe with short Stipa species predominates including the endemic Stipa gobica (Poaceae). Notable forbs here include Allium mongolicum, Lagochilus ilicifolius, Gypsophila desertorum, Ptilotrichum canescens, Scorzonera divaricata, Tanacetum achilleoides and Rheum nanum.


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Lavrenko, E. M. & Karamysheva, Z. W. 1993. Steppes of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia . In: Ecosystems of the World 8B. Mires: Natural Grasslands. Ed. R. T Coupland. Elsevier. 

Takahasi, M. 1936. An ecological study of the vegetation in the province of Jehol, Manchoukuo. Report of the first scientific expedition to Manchoukou.