Institut für Biologie der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


Date of this Version


Document Type



Erforschung biologischer Ressourcen der Mongolei (2012) band 12: 335-352. Results of the Mongolian-German Biological Expeditions since 1962, No. 319.


Copyright 2012, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle Wittenberg, Halle (Saale). Used by permission.


The Altai-Sayan Ecoregion is known as a hotspot of biodiversity with large wilderness landscapes and a high rate of endemism in Central Asia and Siberia. There are many large and important protected areas of different categories. Parts of the Russian Altai, the “Golden Mountains of Altai”, are inscribed as World Natural Heritage. Also the neighbouring countries contain pristine landscapes, which could be a potential for an extension to a transnational serial World Heritage Site.

The Mongolian part of the ecoregion is characterized by very diverse landscapes and vegetation complexes: Deserts, semi-deserts and desert steppes in arid basins, river floodplains, salt and freshwater lakes and wetlands, mountain steppes in different types, isolated coniferous forests of Larix sibirica, subalpine shrubs of Betula rotundifolia, alpine grassland and mires, golets terraces, rocks, glaciers and moraines.

There are primeval landscapes as well as extensive pasture areas, which are influenced by traditional landuse for thousands of years. It is also documented by an extraordinary richness of pre-historic monuments of ancient cultures (the petroglyphic complexes indicate as World Natural Heritage three important periods of cultural development and relations between humans and nature about 12,000 years).

The most important parts of the Mongolian Altai are protected as national parks and nature reserves, e.g. Altai Tavan Bogd, Tsambagarav, Silkhem, Khuk Serkh. The establishment of an extensive biosphere reserve, which should include the existing protected areas, is proposed as integrated approach for the management of the natural and cultural heritage. It could improve also opportunities for transboundary cooperation in protected area management and sustainable regional development.