This area is named after the Russia's famous Lake Baikal. It extends east and southeast from Potomsk and the Northbaikalian Plateaus, and then includes the northern part of the Prebaikal area, a large part of Transbaikalia and part of northeast Mongolia.

Transbaikalian Steppe

Steppe is a characteristic vegetation type of the Baikal region where it represents the most northern extension of the central Asian steppe. It is, for example, a conspicuous feature of the Ushkanii Islands. On the other hand, it is extemely varied here and may be dominated by various grasses such as Agropyron cristatum, Koeleria altaica, K. commutata, Helictotrichon desertorum, H. schellianum, Poa botryoides, Stipa capillata or the Siberian endemic Stipa sibirica (Poaceae). Certain forbs are also important such as Alyssum lenense, Artemisia commutata, Dianthus versicolor, Kockia prostrata, Orostachys spinosa, the Siberian endemic Astragalus austrosibiricus (Fabaceae) and the Baikalian endemic Kitagawia baicalensis (Apiaceae). These grasses and forbs can occur in various combinations. However, the most extensive steppe of these islands is co-dominated by Agropyron cristatum and Artemisia commutata. It occurs in the most xeric areas and is a prominent feature of many of the dry, rocky slopes.

Transbaikalian Meadow and Tall Forb Communities

Various meadow and tall forb communities have been recognized in this zone. In the river valleys of the Barguzinskij Range, for example, at least six categories have been described. In the well-drained but permanently moist floodplains are meadows dominated by the grass Calamagrostis langsdorffii. Other species include Aconitum rubicundum, Alopecurus pratensis, Carex schmidtii, Crepis sibirica, Filipendula palmata, Galium boreale, Lactuca sibirica, Poa sibirica and the endemic Aconitum baicalensis (Ranunculaceae). Such meadows can be found, for example, in the Middle Lena Valley. On the shaded banks of creeks in narrow valleys that are permanently wet, such as the Markuskina Creek, Cardamine macrophylla becomes an important species, while other include Caltha palustris, Chamaenerion angustifolium and Chrysosplenium alternifolium. Along the banks of fast flowing mountain rivers in the lower sub-alpine and forest belts a completely different assemblage occurs. Here in narrow strips the vegetation is dominated by Geranium albiflorum and Pedicularis uncinata. It often occurs in the spaces between boulders often flooded in winter. Other species include Angelica decurrens, Cirsium helenoides, Pleurospermum uralensis, Solidago dahurica, Veratrum lobelianum and the endemic Aconitum baicalensis (Ranunculaceae). Finally in well-drained sub alpine meadows there are tall forb communities dominated by Aquilegia glandulosa and Geranium albiflorum together species such as Acetosa pratensis, Astagalus saralensis, Bupleurum triradiatum, Dracocephalum altaiense, Doronicum altaicum, Saxifraga punctata, Schulzia crinita and Trisetum altaicum.


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