Windward Islands dry forestsLast Updated on 2013-11-01 10:33:27The Windward Islands dry forests ecoregion is sparsely distributed among the Windward Island Group of the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. It is typically found as an intermediate gradient between the more mesichabitat characterized by moderate soil moisture, high-elevation forests and the xeric, coastal areas. Much of this ecoregion has been substantially altered by shifting cultivation. Many areas that were once dry evergreen or semi-evergreen seasonal forest, are now cultivated and dominated by farms, rural villages, roads, pastures and banana tree patches. This ecoregion shares flora and fauna with adjacent moist forests and, in some areas, with species native to coastal habitats. Arid coastal areas and inaccessible interior mountains put a disproportionate amount of human-related pressures (i.e., agricultural expansion, roads, buildings) on this ecoregion. Consequently,... More »
Antarctic PeninsulaLast Updated on 2013-10-01 23:21:36
The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost element of mainland Antarctica, and the only part of the continent of Antarctica that extends outside the Antarctic Circle.
It is approximately 1200 miles (2000 km) long, stretching from 75°S (a drawn between Cape Adams (Weddell Sea) and a point on the mainland south of Eklund Islands) to 63°S (Prime Head on the Trinity Peninsula). The southern tip of South America, Cape Horn is about 610 miles (980 km) farther north, and is separated by the Drake Passage.
Other names applying to the region include: Tierra de O'Higgins (Chile), Tierra de San Martín (Argentina) and Península Antártica (other Spanish speaking countries). It has the mildest climate in Antarctica and contains the only two flowering plant species on the entire continent.
While Argentina, Chile and the United Kingdom have made... More »
Amur RiverLast Updated on 2013-09-30 16:59:28The Amur River, considered the Earth's tenth largest watercourse, has its headwaters in western Manchuria and mouth at the Strait of Tartary, which connects the Sea of Japan with the Okhotsk Sea. Much of its length defines the border between Russia and China.
Although the generally level topography has made this basin vulnerable to heavy exploitation by agriculture, the region boasts many endemic species of fish, and its wetlands are important to a number of species of rare and endangered birds.
The Amur River became contaminated by a massive toxic release on the Chinese side of the catchment basin in 2005, which effects still linger to the current time. Similarly there are extensive deposits of mercury in Amur River sediments, residual from the central planning poor management practises of the communist Soviet era.
The length of the Amur River is 2825 kilometers, a river... More »
Nenjiang RiverLast Updated on 2013-04-16 00:00:00
The Nenjiang River (also termed the Nen River, Nonni River, Nen Jiang or Nen Chiang) is a major river in northeast China which flows largely south into the the Songhua River, which in turn flows northeast to join the Amur River on the border with Russia and ultimately flows to the Pacific Ocean.
The terrestrial basin of the Nenjiang River is chiefly characterised by Manchurian mixed forests; Mongolian-Manchurian grassland; Northeast China Plain deciduous forests; and, Nenjiang River grassland. The basin's rich soils have enticed intensive agricultural exploitation, and the ecoregion also suffers from overfishing.
The Nenjiang River Basin has important birdlife, especially a number of rare and endangered cranes. In an opposite sense, this basin is quite depauperate with respect to reptile taxa.
The Nenjiang Basin is floodprone with recent major floods having... More »
Songhua RiverLast Updated on 2013-04-09 00:00:00
The Songhua River, draining a sizable area of northeastern China, is the chief tributary of the Amur River, and is the 65th largest river in the world. The Songhua runs a total length of 1927 kilometres, when its longest tributary, the Nenjiang River, is included; the Nenjiang drains the North Manchurian Plain and the Nenjiang River grassland ecoregion. The lowland floodplain area of the Songhua Basin is a vast level expanse that has invited meandering of the river channels and also invited agricultural exploitation.
The size of the [catchment] of the Songhua River is approximately 1,444,000 square kilometres. The Songhua Basin is a significant habitat area for the migrating Red-crowned Crane, as well as other rare crane species. There have been prior episodes of contamination of the Songhua River, most notably a large scale benzene spill; moreover, river water quality has been... More »
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