Original paper

Plant communities of the southern Mongolian Gobi

Wehrden, Henrikvon; Wesche, Karsten; Miehe, Georg

Abstract

The present study provides an updated inventory and classification of the plant communities of the Gobi region in southern Mongolia based on a set of 1418 sample plots. The vast Gobi landscape is characterised by a dry climate with mean annual precipitation in the semi-deserts of between 50 and 150 mm, while the highest mountain peaks may receive up to 200 mm/a. The wetter montane regions are composed of extrazonal communities including woodlands and comparatively dense mountain steppes. The surrounding lowlands are characterised by sparse and more diffuse vegetation comprising dry grass steppes and, more commonly, shrub formations. Water surplus sites host various salt-adapted vegetation types which contrast sharply with the surrounding semi-deserts in terms of their high vegetation cover and species richness. In total, 28 associations/communities plus 18 sub-associations/sub-communities or variants are listed. Nine of these are newly described, and the syntaxonomical status of several other units known from literature has been clarified. The distribution of the plant communities is exemplified by six vegetation profiles.

Keywords

gobi desertgrazingphytosociologysteppevegetation classifi cation