Landscapes of Dauria, Mongolia

An outstanding example of the Daurian steppe ecosystem which provides key seasonal habitats for many migratory animal species

Mongol daguur Ulziin hundii (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Shared by Mongolia and the Russian Federation, the Landscapes of Dauria is a transboundary World Heritage site and occupies over 9,000km2 of the Daurian steppe ecoregion, which extends from eastern Mongolia to Russian Siberia and into north-eastern China. 

Mongol Dauria (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Comprised of vast areas of relatively untouched grassland, forest, lakes and wetlands, the region experiences distinct dry and wet periods throughout the course of the year. These cyclical climate changes lead to a wide diversity of species and ecosystems of global significance.

Wildlife (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

As one of the world’s most outstanding examples of intact grassland, the area provides an essential habitat for mammals such as the roe deer, grey wolf, red fox, badger, tolai hare and the near-threatened Pallas Cat. 

Mongolian gazelle (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

It is a critical location on the transboundary migration path for the Mongolian gazelle (dzeren) and also serves as a vital resting and breeding site for many endangered species, such as the Mongolian marmot (tabargan). 

Ulz river, White-naped crane (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage


The wetlands are comprised of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, which provide an essential stopover for the millions of migrating birds within the East Asian-Australasian flyway (EAAF), one of the most important and longest flyways in the world.

Great Bustard (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

They are a key resting place for over 260 bird species, including the globally-endangered white-naped crane, hooded crane, relict gull and great bustard, and are a nesting ground for many species of waterbirds and shorebirds from tropical countries.

Mongol Dauria (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Granted World Heritage status in 2017, the site includes a total of four component parts. Two of these, the Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area (SPA) and the Ugtam Nature Refuge, can be found in Mongolia, in the north-east corner of the country on the border with Russia.

Steppe eagle (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area

The Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area is comprised of a rare combination of arid steppes and large wetlands, and covers an area of almost 2,000 km2. It was given SPA status in 1992 and its ecosystem includes diverse habitats and specific landscape features.

Mongol Daguur SPA (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The area is characterised by low-mountainous landscapes which support a wide variety of native Daurian and Manchurian flora and fauna, including 31 mammal species, 256 bird species, 5 reptiles, 2 amphibians and 349 plant species.

Ulz river (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Its wetlands are located along the Ulz River. State protection was granted to these wetlands and their biodiversity to ensure their safeguarding and preservation, and to maintain the balance of their ecosystem.

Ugtam Nature Reserve (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Ugtam Nature Reserve

The Ugtam Nature Reserve’s boundaries were established in 1993: the area includes some small lakes and a section of the Ulz River valley to the north, with mountain steppe, forest-steppe and grassland steppe to the south.

Ugtam Nature Reserve (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Management of the Nature Reserve is focused on the unique flora for which the region is known. It is home to 236 plant species from 35 families, including Botrychium (moonworts), Equisetum, Typha, Potamogeton, Trighochin, Alisma, Butomus, grass, and sedge.

Ugtam Mountain (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

A vital part of the Ugtam Nature Reserve, Ugtam Mountain provides a habitat for rare animals and plants. Red deer, wild boar and Mongolian gazelle thrive here, along with other mammals such as the Eurasian lynx, Siberian weasel, Daurian hedgehog and the wolf. 

Demoiselle crane (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The reserve’s wetlands are home to 251 bird species from 39 families, providing a crucial habitat for water birds such as cranes and waterfowl. It is also an essential stopover for migratory bird species en route to eastern Mongolia and Siberia for breeding.

Wildlife (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The area’s Protection Administration works with organizations such as the Mongolian Bird Conservation Centre and Beijing Forestry University in conducting comprehensive research on migratory birds and their breeding, feeding and migration patterns.

Davsan tsagaan lake (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Mongol Daguur Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site

The Landscapes of Dauria World Heritage site is surrounded by a large buffer zone which, in Mongolia, overlaps with the Mongol Daguur Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site of International Importance. 

Tourist camp at the Shogoi tsagaan lake (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The area was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2007, to ensure the preservation of the environment in the protected core area, while allowing locals to carry out ecologically sustainable activities in the outer transition zone. 

Tarbagan (Mongolian marmot) (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Dornod Mongol Strictly Protected Area

The Dornod Mongol SPA is also located in north-eastern Mongolia, though not included in the Landscapes of Dauria World Heritage site. Designated as an SPA in 1992, it covers 5,703 km2 and is crucial in protecting the area's biodiversity.

Mongolian gazelle (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The area has extensive temperate grasslands, comprised of needle-grass steppe, treeless flat steppes, hills and wetlands. As a result, it’s rich in biodiversity with Siberian, Manchurian and Central Asian flora and fauna and notable herds of Mongolian gazelle.

Mongolian gazelles huddle on the lakeside of Khukh lake (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The remote location of Dornod Mongol SPA has allowed the preservation of a pastoral lifestyle and culture that have evolved with nature over the millennia.

Kaishiin Tsagaan lake (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

The natural conditions of this World Heritage site have been well preserved, thanks to both the limited population living within the site boundary and the low levels of adverse economic activities in the area. Legal protection at a national level has also been a key factor.

Swan Goose, Angirt lake (2017) by Landscapes of DauriaUNESCO World Heritage

Taking into account the continued ban on mining within the site boundaries, ongoing coordination between State Parties, and plans relating to both current and future threats to the site, it is hoped that the integrity of the property will be ensured for many years to come.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the Dornod Protected Areas Administration

More on the Landscapes of Dauria and World Heritage: whc.unesco.org/en/list/1448/

Photos: Dornod Protected Areas Administration

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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