Securing steppe fauna in the Daursky Biosphere Reserve
The Dauria Steppe Ecoregion
The transboundary Dauria steppe ecoregion occurs across Mongolia, Russia and China. Within Russia, the Dauria steppe spreads across the Zabaikalsky Province in Russia’s Far East. It is renowned for its high diversity of fauna including the Great Bustard, Daurian Crane, Swan Goose, Mongolian Gazelle, Argali Sheep, Siberian Marmot, and Pallas Cat. The high zoological diversity of the region has been attributed to a number of factors including a large range of habitat types and dispersion corridors, the overlap of several zoogeographic zones, and extreme variations in climatic conditions which triggers widespread migrations in many species.
Despite the high biodiversity values of the region, Zabaikalsky Province has the lowest protected areas coverage amongst Russia’s eastern provinces. One of the few protected areas in the region is the exceptional Daursky Biosphere Reserve, situated near the Mongolian and China border, which unites a cluster of reserves including the Tasucheisky Wildlife Refuge. Representing the majority of major landscape types of the Dauria, the 45,790 hectare core area of the Daursky consists of wetlands and rocky hills, while the 163,530 hectare buffer zone contains mostly grassland and pine stands. The reserve also includes the significant rocks of Adon-Chelon (‘The Herd of Stone Horses’ in Buryat language), and a stand of the rare Krylov pine which is uniquely adapted to survive the conditions of the dry steppes.