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Dalai lake

Geographical Coordinates
48°33’ N, 117°30’ E E (47º45’50”- 49 º20’20” N, 116 º 50’10” - 118 º 10’10” E)

Geographical Location
The site is located in West Hulunbeir Prefecture, stretching across three administrative sub-regions. It lies 40 km south of the city center of Manzhouli. The southern
edge of the site borders the Republic of Mongolia on transboundary Buir Lake.

Area:  740,000 ha

Altitude: 545—784 m

Wetland Type
Ramsar classification -   W, Tp, R, Q, P, O, N, M

Part of the Dalai Lake water system, the site is a complex of lakes, rivers, marshes, shrub lands, grasslands and reed beds typical of wetlands in arid steppes, still retaining near natural conditions.
Created on January 11, 2002

Geomorphologic features of the site include lakebeds, hills, lacustrine and alluvial plains, sand dunes and plateaux. The Dalai Lake region is the only lowland of Hulunbeier Plateau and therefore has great importance for flood storage, sediment retention and groundwater recharge. The average depth of Dalai Lake is 5 - 7 
meters and fluctuates along with pronounced drought cycle. It is a temperate continental climate with an annual mean temperature of about 0,3ºC. The extremely highest temperature is 40°С (July) and the lowest one is -43°С (January).

The site is important for about 330 bird species, particularly Anatidae and shorebird species. 30 fish species are supported, of both Siberian and Northeast China types, and some are economically important. More 600 higher plant species are presenting in this site. Because of the large density of reeds and other hydrophytes that grow at its edges, it has a strong influence on maintaining water quality. Marsh vegetation types are the mainly cover plant in the Dalai Lake. They are distributed in river channels
and seasonally or permanently flooding areas. Areas with marsh vegetation provide important breeding areas for birds and spawning areas for fish. The Dalai Lake region is critical for maintaining regional climate.

Reserve is an important channel of Australia-east Asia migratory birds and distribution center, and it is also important Asia waterfowl breeding grounds. There are over 100,000 migrations stage or breed here every year. There are support 55 national protection species. The national level to protect birds including redcrowned crane (Grus japonensis), black stork (Ciconia nigra), hooded crane (Grus monacha), great bustard (Otis tarda dybowskii), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), relict gull (Larus relictus) etc.

The water areas of the Dalai Lake and Buir Lake are owned by the state. The main activities within the wetland are fishing and reed cutting. The Dalai Lake Fishing Farm has fishing rights on the lake. It produces more than 10,000 tons of fish per year. The surrounding grasslands are under collective ownership and local herdsmen have rights to use the lands. The Nature Reserve has not yet obtained land tenure. Dalai Lake is a major water source for local people and livestock of the surrounding communities. The grasslands surrounding the lake support a total of 2 million livestock. The lake supports hundreds of thousands of people’s production
and living. Dalai lake is the largest freshwater aquatic products base in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. And it also has high value of tourism. Tourism offers birdwatching, boating, and traditional Mongolian foods, customs, and cultures, and the area is becoming a center for environmental education and research.

Around the site, over-grazing is resulting in desertification in the area surrounding Dalai Lake, making this a potentially important threat to the wetland ecosystem. A large
amount of willow branches have been cut, which increase erosion of riverbanks and siltation of river channels. Possible oil and other minerals extraction may cause water pollution and consume large amounts of freshwater. Dalai national nature reserve has abundant tourism resources, but the disorderly development caused a lot of damage. Over-fishing may result in exhaustion of fishery resources. The reed development recent years has a certain effect to protect the birds in the survival and reproduction, especially in recent years due to drought, reed growing is not good compare with before, in some parts of the reed failed to grow after mowing, which affects the habitat of birds. Due to the decrease in precipitation in recent years, water supply has decreased and thus reduced the water level of the lake. From 2000 to 2012, the resources of water decreased of more than 100 million cubic waters.

The Nature Reserve Management Bureau established its management stations in 1996. The reserve became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2002. Conservation measures enacted are prohibitions on land reclamation for agriculture, uncontrolled fishing, overgrazing and hunting, and restrictions on sand and stone
extraction. The Nature Reserve Management Bureau has signed agreements with local governments and communities on joint conservation of the Nature Reserve. The Bureau has produced a series of brochures to introduce the Nature Reserve and its key protected targets. In recently years, Dalai lake Nature Reserve is keeping carry out biodiversity survey such as birds. For example, the survey of winter birds was conducting in 2015. Since 1994, Dalai Lake NNR cooperates with Mongolia reserve and
Russia reserve to together protect the wetlands with regular transboundary research and environmental education.