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


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Erforschung biologischer Ressourcen der Mongolei (2012) band 12: 27-37.


Copyright 2012, Martin-Luther-Universität. Used by permission.


Biodiversity is studied at ecosystem, community, and species level around Khonin Nuga, where the University Goettingen supports a research station since 15 years (established 1997 in cooperation with the National University of Mongolia). In that period 39 scientists have been involved and 67 students graduated with theses (7 PhD) about field work at that station. Inventories started at 1998 for several taxa and are now compiled in a book, which will be printed 2012 in Ulaanbaatar. It covers fungi, lichens, plants, several insect groups, spiders, crustaceans, and all vertebrate classes. For all taxa adequate experts proved the species lists. Because of both the high species richness in most taxa and the new threat by logging and frequent anthropogenic fires the area around Khonin Nuga has to be denoted a “hotspot of biodiversity” for Mongolia. The long-term ecological research led to an understanding of the dynamics of the different forest types: the old-growth forest with dominating Pinus sibirica shows a gap-dynamics in regeneration, whereas the Larix sibiricaBetula platyphylla forests are driven by frequent fire disturbances. The anthropogenic fires are destructive for the biodiversity in forests. The tree species Betula platyphylla proved as a key resource for many saproxylic organisms and hole-breeding birds. The southfacing slopes are covered naturally by dry-mountain-steppes where trees are beyond their limits. In the river valleys meadows can form stable communities even though the floodplains allow tree growth physiologically. At the community level we studied for more than 10 years the dynamics of small mammal populations. At the southern edge of the taiga there is no pattern of cycles. The dynamics (fluctuation with population crash) is mainly caused by adverse winter conditions, but the dynamics can also shift to intrinsic factors at high population densities and favorable winter weather. At the species level we studied the reproduction strategy of a social corvid, the Azure-winged magpie (Cyanopica cyana). In years with favorable conditions it breeds without helpers. In years with high nest predation we observed 10 % helpers, but in a year with a colony disaster by burning 64 % helpers improved significantly the breeding success. The southern boreal forest is an area of special interest for conservation, containing the most diverse assemblages of species within the boreal forest. Intact, contiguous boreal forest will be best able to keep up with rapidly changing climate conditions because of high connectivity, providing diverse habitats for wildlife by its heterogeneity, high potential for regeneration, maintaining the soil system, and moderating local climate. Contributions to the long-term studies came from Dulamsuren Ch., Oyunsanaa B., Gottschalk E., Sheftel B., Gantulga B. and others found in the references.