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Eastern Asia: Eastern China into Russia

This 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. The reasons for the lack 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 10 centuries ago. The Bohai and Churgene civilizations may have 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 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.

  • Scientific Code
    (PA0907)
  • Ecoregion Category
    Palearctic
  • Size
    13,100 square miles
  • Status
    Critical/Endangered
  • Habitats

Description
Location and General Description

Biodiversity Features
Primary research conducted on the territory of newly organized Khanka reserve estimates the diversity of mammals is 48 species (4 included into the "Red Book of Russia"), 338 birds (44 included in the "Red Book of Russia"), 7 reptiles (Far Eastern leather turtle included in the "Red Book of Russia"), 6 amphibians (Ussuri triton included in the "Red Book of Russia"). 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 12 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

Current Status

Types and Severity of Threats

Justification of Ecoregion Delineation
In Russia, the mapped ecoregion boundaries correspond to the Far Eastern subboreal humid lowlands and swamps surrounding Lake Khanka. Lines are adapted from Isachenko’s map of USSR landscapes (1988). This area corresponds to the easternmost forest steppe polygon in the Amur Manchurian forest province according to Kurnaev’s forest map of the USSR (1990). It includes the relatively flat, low elevation region south of Lake Khanka since this area has a number of Red Book species in common with Lake Khanka to the north. Within China, the boundaries correspond to the swamp woodlands and grasslands just north of Lake Khanka (classes 69 and 70) from the CVMCC (1979) Vegetation Map of China. These meadows are separated from the Amur meadows and forest meadows by the Wanda Shan (part of the Manchurian mixed forest ecoregion).

References
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.

Prepared by: Pavel Krestov
Reviewed by: In process

 

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