Journal of Arid Land Studies
Online ISSN : 2189-1761
Print ISSN : 0917-6985
ISSN-L : 0917-6985
Original Article
Phytosociological study of steppe vegetation in western Mongolia
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2021 Volume 31 Issue 3 Pages 63-76


The Mongolian steppe is among the largest undeveloped grasslands in the world. However, degradation of this vegetation has recently been recognized as a serious national problem. Detailed systematization of the vegetation based on species composition is required to mitigate losses in this unique habitat. We aimed to compile information on steppe vegetation in western Mongolia, where there is still a dearth of data. Vegetation data were collected in 2010 and 2011 using phytosociological procedures around the periphery of the Great Lakes basin and the southern Khangai Mountains. Plant communities were then differentiated on the basis of differential species identified from the abundance data for each stand. Four main phytosociological plant communities were identified: Agropyron cristatumArtemisia frigida, Echinops gmeliniiArtemisia rutifolia, Anabasis brevifoliaStipa glareosa, and Hordeum turkestanicumArtemisia caespitosa communities. The Agropyron cristatumArtemisia frigida community was broadly distributed in western Mongolia; the species composition of this community was representative of steppe communities in western sectors of the country. Other communities were members of the class Stipetea glareosae-gobicae, which integrates the desert and desert steppe communities. Some diagnostically important species of steppe communities in the central sector were absent from the steppe communities distributed in western Mongolia. Moreover, characteristic species of desert steppe communities, such as Stipa glareosa, Stipa gobica, Allium polyrhizum, and Gypsophila desertorum, occurred in the steppe vegetation.

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© 2021 The Japanese Association for Arid Land Studies