Amur-Heilong Ecoregional Complex (AHEC)
The natural Amur-Heilong Ecoregion ecosystems are biologically rich, and valued by the human population and countries for their natural qualities and ecosystem services. The crowns of evolution, the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard thrive in extensive tracts of intact forests, protected by effectively managed nature reserves and connecting corridors.
The free flowing Amur River, uninterrupted by dams, ensures climate adaptation for regular monsoon floods and, supports freshwater relic communities and enormous shoals of migrating salmons and sturgeons. The Amur River valley, conserved in an internationally recognized Green Corridor, supports last breeding grounds of Oriental stork,eastern cranes and millions of migratory birds along the Northeast Asian Flyway.
Sustainable management of the viable ecosystems is linked to long-term regional strategiesof social-economic development. The Amur-Heilong Ecoregional program serves as a powerful symbol of international cooperation between peoples and countries of the basin.
Protected Areas (PA) of Amur-Heilong Ecoregional Complex
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Protected areas cover 12% of the Amur Ecoregion territory: 7,3 million hectares of federal PAs and 8 million hectares of provincial PAs including 17 strictly protected areas, 7 national parks, 8 federal and 79 provincial wildlife refuges, 6 nature parks, 7 ecological corridors, and 2 wetlands. Sikhote-Alin and Dauria Nature Reserves is the UNESCO World Heritage site. Five more nature reserves are UNESCO biosphere reserves: Sokhondinsky NR, Far Eastern Marine NR, Dauria NR, Kedrovaya Pad NR and Khankaisky Nature Reserve. Six territories are included in the list of the Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites): Khanka Lake, Torey Lakes, Khingan-Arkharinskaya Lowland, Zeya-Bureya Plain, Bolon Lake and Udyl Lake.
The Amur-Heilong Ecoregion Complex covers a total area of 1.85 million km2. It includes the basin of the Amur-Heilong River in Russia, China and Mongolia. The area also includes the internal river basin of the Ulz River that drains its water to Torey lakes, the Uda River Basin, part of the Olekma River Basin, the eastern slope of the Sikhote Alin mountains and basins of the Razdolnaya-Suifun River and Tumannaya-Tumenjiang River. Technically the northern part of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is part of the Amur-Heilong ecoregion but for political reasons does not fall within the scope of this PIA.
In Russia the AHEC encompasses 5 provinces: the totality of Amurskaya Oblast, Evreiskaya Autonomous Oblast and Primorskiy Krai, part of Khabarovskiy Krai (up to the North of the Uda River), and the Shilka and Argun Rivers Basin of Zabaikalskiy Krai (former Chitinskaya Oblast and Aginskii Buryatskii Autonomic Prefecture). In China the AHEC covers three provinces: the totality of Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces, and part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in Haelar-Dalaihu Basins. In Mongolia the AHEC covers parts of the following four provinces: Dornod, Sukhbaatar, Khentii and Tuv province in Onon and Kerulen Basins.
The majority of WWF’s work is focused on the southern portion of the ecoregion (Sikhote-Alin in Russia and Changbaishan in China), where both the levels of biodiversity and the threats are greatest. Integrated River Basin Management work is concentrated in the headwaters of the Amur River (Zabaykalskiy Krai in Russia and Dornod and Khentii provinces in Mongolia).