Great Mountain Forests
If you were to hike up the length of the Korean Peninsula and into China's Jilin Province, you would cross the Changbai, or "Great White," Mountains. Here you'd find yourself surrounded by rich conifer forests rising up in front of Baiyun, or "White Cloud," a dormant volcano that’s the tallest peak in the region.
The Changbai Mountains Mixed Forests are among the most diverse forest ecosystems in northeast Asia. Winters are long, cold, and fairly dry. Most of the precipitation falls during the summer and autumn months, with total annual precipitation averaging about 20-40 inches (500-1,000 mm) at the lower to middle elevations and 55 inches (1,400 mm) near the summit. Korean pines, red pines, Japanese yews, and other evergreen species cover the slopes along with Mongolian oaks, dwarf birch, and other deciduous trees.
One of the most important areas for wildlife in this region is the Changbai Shan Nature Reserve, which lies on the border of China’s Jilin Province and North Korea. Predators such as Siberian tigers, leopards, lynx, and brown bears still live in these forests, along with Sika deer, red deer, ghoral, wild pigs, otters, and dozens of other mammal species. Among the rarest birds of the region are black grouse, hazel grouse, black storks, mandarin ducks, oriental storks, and scaly-sided mergansers.
Cause for Concern
Logging and hunting are the two greatest threats to biodiversity in this ecoregion. The development of the tourist industry in the Changbai Mountains also constitutes a possible threat.
For more information on this ecoregion, go to the World Wildlife Fund Scientific Report.All text by World Wildlife Fund © 2001