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Eastern Mongolian Steppes

Date of Submission: 19/12/2014
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Dornod and Sukhbaatar Provinces
Ref.: 5946
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

1. Eastern Mongolian Strictly Protected Area

 

 

 

 

 

116 16 49.799 E 46 8 13.135 N

116 11 39.766 E 46 36 4.169 N

117 21 52.927 E 46 49 49.737 N

118 15 28.66 E 46 42 55. 58 N

117 22   6.248 E  46 21 38.269 N

118 27 45.617 E  46 44 26.753 N

2. Toson Khulstai National Park

112 29 42.532 E 48 17 24.388 N

112 58 5.412 E  48 21 5 .353 N

113 56 45.156 E 48 41 53.5 N

112 38 25.5 8 E 47 5 11.819 N

3. Bayantsagaan Steppe Natural Reserve

112 48 26.969 E  47 15 23.852 N

113 51 44.12 E 47 35 41.292 N

113 25 55. 89 E 47 6 .93 N

113 51 59.29 E  47 13 17.493 N

4. Jaran Togoon Steppe (two areas)

114 2 E,  47 17 N

114 2  E  47 5 N

5. Yakhi Nuur Natural Reserve

114 3  43.367 E 48 33 29.468 N

114 51 5 .336 E 48 56 34.459 N

114 22 24.313 E  49 5 37. 5 N

112 58 5.412 E  48 21 5 .353 N

The Eastern Mongolian Steppes are home to the largest remaining intact temperate grasslands of the Earth. The ecosystem of Eastern Mongolian Steppes is characterized by treeless flat steppes, gently rolling hills, wetlands, and interlinkages with the Khyangan Mountain Range all the way to the border with the People’s Republic of China. The proposed serial property has five components with a total surface area of some 2 million ha, outstanding components representing the vast ecosystem.

The Eastern Steppes are an exceptional ecoregion within the vast Eurasian Steppes spanning from the European Pannonian Steppe to the Mongolian-Manchurian grasslands due to its intactness, relatively high altitude and northern latitude. The main distinctive characteristic of the proposed property compared to other steppe ecosystems is that it is dominated by grasslands across thousands of square kilometres with several species of bush and shrubbery. The herds of an estimated 1.5 to 2 million of Mongolian white-tailed gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) are an inseparable element of the ecosystem, both inhabiting and shaping it. Furthermore, 25 species of mammals, 174 species of birds, 2 species of amphibians and 5 species of reptiles have been recorded.

The Eastern Mongolian Steppes are dominated by 5 types of grasses including Stipa krylovii, Stipa grandis, Festuca lenensis. There are a total of 11 3 species of flora in Eastern Mongolian Steppes. There are four species of endemic plants, 9 species of sub-endemic plants, critically endangered 1 species of plants, endangered 8 species, 18 species of medicinal plants and 7 species of other plants.

The Eastern Mongolian Steppes are the home of the Mongolian white-tailed gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) and secondly, it is the home of habitat for a number of Asian species such as raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), transbaikal zokor (Myospalax psilurus), and Asian particolored bat (Vespertilio sinensis), at the western edge of region. The Eastern Mongolian Steppes also represent the eastern limit of the Central Asian mountain ranges and the most eastern range of the habitats for a number of species including goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), Argali sheep (Ovis ammon), Mongolian marmot (Marmota sibirica), five-toed pygmy jerboa (Cardiocranius paradoxus), Kozlov's pygmy jerboa (Salpingotus kozlovi), long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) and great bustard (Otis tarda).

The following components are proposed as a serial property of the Eastern Mongolian Steppes:

- Dornod Mongolia Strictly Protected Area (589,9 6 ha);

- Toson Khulstai Natural Reserve (458,51 ha);

- Bayantsagaan Steppes Natural Reserve (332,362 ha);

- Yakhi Nuur Natural Reserve (251,218 ha); and

- Jaran Togoo Steppes (381,476 ha).

The five components have a total area of 2. 1 million ha.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The Eastern Mongolian Steppes are a vast ecosystem representing the stipa grasslands of Central Asia. The Eastern Mongolian Steppes are a representative area for conservation of pristine grasslands of the steppe zone of not only Mongolia but of Central Asia; there are no comparable pristine steppe ecosystem in the world.

The Eastern Mongolian Steppes are able to represent an array of characteristics of intact grassland ecosystems of the world in its beautiful landscape, and it is home for the wildlife including Mongolian white-tailed gazelle and many rare and endangered species of plants (over 1    plant species), various species of migratory and resident birds that are specially protected.

Therefore, the Eastern Mongolian Steppes can be a World Heritage Site with outstanding universal value, protecting and conserving the most intact grassland ecosystems and its rich biodiversity.

Criterion (ix): The proposed area is a comprised of a network of five large protected areas jointly conserving the best representations of the last intact large-scale stipa grassland ecosystem in the world. The Eastern Mongolia Steppes represent on-going ecological and biological processes of the stipa grassland ecosystem and its native species of plants and wildlife that have adapted over years to the Eastern Mongolian Steppes ecosystem.

Criterion (x): The Eastern Mongolia Steppes are the eastern wing of the Eurasian Great Steppes and is the only natural habitat of the Mongolian white-tailed gazelle herds in the world, and home to other rare and endangered species of plants and animals. The Eastern Mongolia Steppes is the only place on earth where the white-tailed gazelle can be found and it is of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science and conservation, as the protection of Eastern Mongolia Steppes is critical to the conservation of biological diversity and survival of white-tailed gazelle.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Certain parts of the Eastern Mongolian Steppes with extraordinary conservation values have been designated as Specially Protected Areas of Mongolia. The parts that have been protected include areas of pristine grasslands that show the characteristics of grassland ecosystems. Currently, there are no major or acute threats to the outstanding universal value of the Eastern Mongolian Steppes.

The proposed serial property has preserved the natural characteristics of grassland ecosystems at a very large landscape scale and protects the natural habitat of wild animals where they can migrate and breed freely. There is adequate management and financial resources, and favourable legal environment to continue conserving the various components forming the proposed property.

Comparison with other similar properties

There are no World Heritage sites that are fully comparable to the Eastern Mongolian Steppes. However, there are similarities with the World Heritage properties of “Saryaka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan” of Kazakhstan, and “Serengeti National Park” of Tanzania. While there are also similar temperate and tropical steppe ecosystems in North and South America, Central Asia and Australia, most of them have been heavily impacted by human activities and have lost their pristine conditions. The Eastern Mongolia Steppes are relatively unaffected by human activities. Similar large herd migration activity can only be seen in the Serengeti of East Africa, and in Saryaka steppe of Kazakhstan. Additionally the proposed property is home to the globally important populations of threatened species.