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Mongolian culture

 

Natural zones of Mongolia

High Mountain Zone

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Mongolia is like situated on the mountain, a country averaging 1.5 kilometers above the sea level. In Mongolian terms, 1.5km is at such high altitude as to endure extreme condition –the High Mountain Zone – strong wind, extreme cold, and very short growing season.

This zone is above the tree lines, characterized by tundra, alpine- sedge meadows, upland swamps and lichen- covered screes and boulders. Plants include shrubby Ground Birch; occasion Mountain Pine, beautiful white Gentian and Mountain Saxifrage. Typical mammals are “Argali”, Ibex, Snow leopard, Ermine, Snow Marten and Mountain Hare, birds include White Ptarmigan, Altai Snow cock, Eurasian Dottrel, Rock Pigeon and Red-Billed Chough.

Taiga forest zone

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Northern Mongolia includes the southern rim of Siberia's vast taiga forest, the largest forest on the planet Earth. The taiga is boreal coniferous forest, mainly Siberian Larch and in higher areas Siberian Pine. Other confers such as Siberian Spruce feature. The bark and forest ground are rich in moss, lichens and relatively undisturbed in Mongolia.

Mountain forest steppe

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To the south, about 25% of Mongolia is a mix of forest and grassland, a transition zone between taiga forest and steppe , with northern slopes clothed in trees and southern slopes carpets of wild ‘ flower of open grassland'. This attractive landscape has a high biological diversity, home to Roe Deer, Elk, Wolf, Red Fox, and Tolai Hare, Siberian marmot.

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Further south, the Steppe Zone is a ‘sea grass' covering 20% of  Mongolia, crucial for the livestock of the semi-nomadic herder families. These permanent pastures, undisturbed by plough or artificial chemical, are rich carpets of sweet smelling herbs, flower and grasses. The steppe Zone is crucial for the semi-nomadic life on livestock breeding such as horses, sheep, goats, cattle, yaks and camels.

Desert Steppe Zone

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In the south, again the lush green grasslands of the steppe  give away to a transition, the Desert Steppe Zone on the north rim of the Gobi Desert. The transition zone covers 20% of Mongolia, semi-arid region of parched grasslands and salt pans with strong wind and dust storm. It has grasses and shrubs very different from those of the Steppe Zone and many are unique in Central Asia. In desert Steppe Zone and Gobi, there are houbara bustard, cinerous vulture and huge lammergeyer. Grazing animals include herds of wild horse, wild donkey, saiga antelope and black-tailed gazelle.

Gobi Desert Zone

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Gobi Desert Zone: To the south lies the vast Gobi, a massive desert straddling the border of Mongolia and the Inner Mongolia region of China. One of the world's great deserts, much of the Gobi is a daunting place of bare Rocky Mountains, sand dunes, huge flat deserts, relieved by well-watered oases. The climate is harsh with temperature of max 40°C and min -40°C.

Khovsgol Lake

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Mongolia's wetlands are diverse–glaciers, lakes, rivers, streams, marshes, oases etc. – and in each of the 6 Zones described above, the wetlands support distinctive animals and plants. The Mongolian rivers separate 3 drainage basins, so the fish are quite different in each: The Pacific Ocean Drainage Basin Supports 41 species of fish, including Amur Sturgeon. The Arctic Ocean Basin supports 25 species of fish notably Lenok, Baikal Sturgeon and Northern Pike. The Central Asian Drainage Basin is quite distinctive being isolated, with only 5 species of fish, but evolved into new species – notably the Mongolian Grayling and Altai Osman-unique in the World.

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