Ecoregions

Ussuri-Wusili meadow and forest meadow

May 17, 2012, 1:46 am
Content Cover Image

Lake Khanka in the Ussuri-Wusili meadow and forest meadow ecoregion. Source: NASA

The Ussuri-Wusuli meadow and forest meadow, also known as Suiphun-Khanka meadows and forest meadows, is an ecoregion is characterised by forestless or woodland landscapes near Lake Khanka up to the uppermost part of Ussuri River in the north and along the valley of Razdolnaya (Suiphun) River to the south. In Russian scientific literature it is known as Suiphun-Khanka depression. This ecoregion lies chiefly within southeastern Russia, with a smaller portion within northeastern China. The Ussuri River, a tributary of the Amur River, bisects this ecoregion.

caption Ussuri River, Russia. (Photograph by WWF Russia/ Yuri Shibnev)

The reasons for the paucity of forests are still a point of discussion among biogeographers. Although climatic conditions favor forest development, devastating fires have occurred regularly since the appearance of the first civilizations more than ten centuries ago. The Bohai and Churgene civilizations likely caused the formation of fire tolerant meadows and Mongolian oak woodland communities.

The valley was probably both a refuge and biogeographical "bridge" for many species during the late Pleistocene glaciation. This explains the very high level of species diversity and the presence of floral relicts.

Rare and endangered animals include Siberian tiger, Far Eastern leopard. Many fish taxa are endemic to Lake Khanka or the Ussuri and Lake Khanka is one of the most important sites for migrating birds in all of eastern Asia. Globally rare cranes and ibises are resident here. Only 20 % of lands in the region are left unmanaged.

Lake Khanka is affected by the side effects of the agricultural industry, such as deleterious compounds included in fertilizers, biowaste of animal husbandry, etc.

caption Source: WWF

Biodiversity Features

Primary research conducted on the territory of newly organized Khanka reserve estimates the diversity of mammals is 48 species, 338 birds, seven reptiles, six amphibians. The brief information of rare animal species except birds, is shown in table 1. The estimates of insect diversity have not been made, however it’s known that twelve species of insects are listed in the "Red Book of Russia". Most of them have their eastern limit of distribution in the ecoregion.

Table 1. Animals rare or endemic to the ecoregion

Family

Common name

Scientific name

Status

Fishes

     

Carp family

Small-scale carp

Plagiognathops microlepis

endemic to Khanka and Ussuri

Carp family

Black Amur bream

Megalobrama terminalis

endemic to Khanka, Ussuri and Amur

Carp family

Black amur

Mylopharyngodon piceus

endemic to Khanka and Ussuri

Sheat-fish family

Soldatov’s Sheat-fish

Silurus soldatovi

endemic to Khanka, Ussuri and Amur

Perch family

Chinese perch

Siniperca chua-tsi

endemic to Khanka, Ussuri and Amur

Amphibians

     
 

Ussuri triton

Onychodactylus fischeri

Endemic to Ussuri ecoregion and Korea

Reptiles

     

Soft turtles

Far eastern leather turtle

Trionyx sinensis

endemic to Khanka, Ussuri and Amur

True lizards

Korean long-tail lizard

Takydromus wolteri

Endemic to Ussuri ecoregion and eastern China

Grass-snakes

Stripy ranner

Coluber spinalis

The only location in Russia

Mammals

     

Moles

Japanese mole

Mogera wogura

The only location in Russia

Shrews

Giant brown-teeth shrew

Sorex mirabilis

Rare and endangered species

Shrews

 

Neomys fodiens

Rare and endangered species

Bats

Long-finger bat

Myotis capaccinii macrodactylus

Rare and endangered species

Bats

Ikonnikov’s bat

Myotis ikonnikovi

Rare species

Bats

Long-tail bat

Myotis frater

Rare species

Bats

Leather noctule

Pipistrellus savii

Rare on the Far East

Bats

Eastern noctule

Pipistrellus abramus

The only location in Russia

Bats

Common long-wing bat

Miniopterus schreibersi

The only location on Russian Far East

Hamsters

Manchurian hamster

Myospalax psilurus epsilanus

Rare species

Dogs

Red wolf

Cuon alpinus

Endangered and very rare species

Mink family

 

Mustela altaica

Endangered and rare species

Cats

Ussurian tiger

Panthera tigris altaica

Endangered and rare species

Cats

Far eastern leopard

Panthera pardus orientalis

Endangered and very rare species

Cats

Far eastern forest cat

Felis euptilura

Rare species in Russia

Ship family

Amur mountain ship

Nemoraedus caudatus

Rare species

Birds are well studied on this territory because of great importance of the Lake Khanka in their seasonal migration and reproduction. From about 400 species noticed for the area the 44 species were included in the Red Book of Asia, and more than 80 are recommended for the special protection on the territory of the Russian Far East. In Table 2 the most important part of endangered bird species is shown.

Table 2. Rare species of birds

Family

Common name

Scientific name

The pale

Status

Sheldrake

Black-neck sheldrake

Podiceps nigricollis

Nest

Rare species

Sheldrake

Big sheldrake

Podiceps cristatus

Nest

Rare species

Cormorant

Big cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

Nest

Rare on the Far East

Heron family

Big bittern

Botaurus stellaris

Nest

Rare endangered species

Heron family

Big white heron

Egretta alba

Nest

Rare species

Heron family

Medium white heron

Egretta intermedia

Nest

Rare species

Ibis family

 

Platalea leucorodia

Nest

Very rare endangered species

Ibis family

Red-leg ibis

Nipponia nippon

Nest

Very rare endangered species

Stork family

Far eastern stork

Ciconia boyciana

Nest

Rare species with narrow range

Stork family

Black stork

Ciconia nigra

Nest

Rare species

Duck family

Grey goose

Anser anser

Nest

Rare on the Russian Far east

Duck family

Dry-beak goose

Cygnopsis cygnoides

Nest

Rare and endangered species

Duck family

Swan

Cygnus olor

Migr

Rare on Russian Far East

Duck family

Swan

Cygnus cygnus

Nest

Rare on Russian Far East

Duck family

 

Tadorna cristata

?

Possibly extinct, last seen in 1966

Duck family

Black mallard

Anas poecilorhyncha

Nest

Decreasing population

Duck family

Mandarin duck

Aix galericulata

Nest

Rare species with decreasing population

Duck family

Bar’s black duck

Aythya baeri

Nest

Rare species

Hawk family

Cristate wasp-eater

Pernis ptilorhynchus

Nest

Rare with decreasing population

Hawk family

Black kite

Milvus migrans

Nest

Decreasing population

Hawk family

Patchy ringtail

Circus melanoleucos

Nest

Decreasing population

Hawk family

Bulrush ringtail

Circus aeruginosus spilonotus

Nest

Rare with decreasing population

Hawk family

Short-finger hawk

Accipiter soloensis

Nest

Rare species in Rissia

Hawk family

Hawk sarych

Butastur indicus

Nest

Rare species with narrow range

Hawk family

Big eaglet

Aquila clanga

Nest

Rare with decreasing population

Hawk family

Golden eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Nest

Rare species

Hawk family

Black griffon

Aegyptus monachum

Wintering

Rare species

Falcon family

Falcon

Falco rusticolus

Wintering

Rare species

Black cock family

Ussuri black cock

Lyrurus tetrix ussuriensis

Nest

Decreasing population

Pheasant family

Beard ptarmigan

Perdix dauuricae suschkini

Nest

Rare species

Crane order

 

Turnix tanki

Nest

Rare species

Crane family

Japanese crane

Grus japonensis

Nest

Extremely rare species

Crane family

White crane

Grus leucogeranus

Nest

Extremely rare species

Crane family

Daurian crane

Grus vipio

Nest

Extremely rare species

Crane family

Black crane

Grus monacha

Nest

Rare in Russia

Crane order

White-wing rail

Porzana exquisita

Nest

Very rare species

Bustard family

Bustard

Otis tarda dybowskii

Migr

Rare species

Squatarole order

 

Himantopus himantopus

Nest

Very rare species

Justification of Ecoregion Delineation

In Russia, the mapped boundaries correspond to the Far Eastern subboreal humid lowlands and swamps surrounding Lake Khanka. Lines are adapted from Isachenko’s map of USSR landscapes. This area corresponds to the easternmost ecoregion forest polygon in the Amur Manchurian forest province according to Kurnaev’s forest map of the USSR. It includes the relatively flat, low steppe region south of Lake Khanka since this area has a number of Red Book elevation in common with Lake Khanka to the north. Within China, the boundaries correspond to the swamp species and woodlands just north of Lake Khanka (classes 69 and 70) from the CVMCC Vegetation Map of China. These meadows are separated from the Amur meadows and forest grasslands by the Wanda Shan (part of the Manchurian mixed forest ecoregion).

Additional information on this ecoregion

Further reading

  • Chinese Vegetation Map Compilation Committee. 1979. Vegetation map of China. Map (1:10,000,000). Science Press, Beijing, China. .
  • Kurnaev, S. 1990. Forest regionalization of the USSR (1:16,000,000) Moscow: Dept. of Geodesy and Cartography.

 

Disclaimer: This article contains information that was originally published by the World Wildlife Fund. Topic editors and authors for the Encyclopedia of Earth have edited its content and added new information. The use of information from the World Wildlife Fund should not be construed as support for or endorsement by that organization for any new information added by EoE personnel, or for editing of the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Citation

Fund, W. (2012). Ussuri-Wusili meadow and forest meadow . Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/156817

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