Travelogue Western Mongolia 2003

Western Mongolia 2003
Author: Martin Schnittler

Region visited:

The Great Lake Basin in Western Mongolia around Khovd (ca. 48°20′ N and 92°36′ E). Stony shrub desert, highly continental climate, temperature extremes from -40 to +35 °C, annual precipitation 60-150 mm with high variability from year to year. Typical desert habitat for Central Asia. Vegetation composed of shrubs, various woody dwarf shrubs and numerous herbs. Sagebrush (Artemisia) and the legume shrubs of the genus Caragana are the most common woody species.

Sampling activities:

About 70 localities of various types of stony to slightly sandy deserts situated around the lake Khar Us Nuur. Furthermore, 20 localities in the Zhargalant Mts., an isolated mountain massive reaching up to 3600 m southeasterly located of lake Khar-Us-Nuur.


The trip was funded in part by the project Changing Pastoral Ecosystems in Western Mongolia of the Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology of the University of Greifswald on questions of grazing impacts and sustainable use of vegetation in the region between Mongolian Altai and the Great Lake Basin of Western Mongolia funded by VolkswagenStiftung (I/77 426). The project runs in co-operation with the Institute of Geography of University of Hamburg and State University of Khovd.


Four weeks, July / August 2003


M. Schnittler, A. Zemmrich, C. Oehmke, R. Zölitz-Möller