The Wetland Book pp 1531-1549 | Cite as

Highland Peatlands of Mongolia

  • Tatiana Minayeva
  • Andrey Sirin
  • Chultemin Dugarjav
Reference work entry


The geographical characteristics of Mongolia suggest the various conditions for peatlands development. Most of the country’s territory is made up of highlands with pronounced taiga or forest tundra belts. The area underlain by permafrost used to comprise almost two thirds of Mongolia’s territory; this area has dramatically decreased over the last three decades. The highlands in the steppe, semi-desert and desert zones were richer with precipitation during the last decades than the lowlands. Recent studies report that peatlands cover 27,000 km2 or over 1.7% of the country. The article describes the diversity of peatlands in Mongolia by presenting seven basic mire massif types with variations which are typical for certain geographic conditions. Mire types demonstrate various natural values, contributions to human livelihoods and levels of resistance to climate change and anthropogenic impacts. Recent massive overgrazing in the steppe region, combined with permafrost degradation, has led to losses of peatland ecosystems. The key process contributing to this is peat mineralisation, which means the losses are largely irreversible. The mining industry in the highlands has also led to significant losses of peatlands upstream of key water sources both for people and downstream peatlands. The only solution to this problem is integrated water and ecosystem management.


Peatlands Highlands Steppe Dry climate Desertification Overgrazing Degradation Management 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wetlands InternationalEdeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Center for protection and restoration of peatland ecosystems, Institute of Forest ScienceRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Institute of General and Experimental Biology Mongolian Academy of SciencesUlaanbaatarMongolia
  4. 4.Laboratory of Peatland Forestry and AmeliorationInstitute of Forest Science, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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