Mongolia: ecosystems containing peatlands
Distribution of peatlands and permafrost in Mongolia. Permafrost is thawing due to human activities like fire and mining operations as well as climate change. This accelerates peatland degradation and increases the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. In terms of their distribution, peatland coverage varies across the country with most being concentrated in the northern, central and the most easterly areas. A detailed mapping of their extent across the country was initially carried out in the 1950s, and historically an estimated 1 percent or 27,200 km2 of Mongolia was covered in peatlands (Minayeva et al., 2005b). This is thought to have declined between 60 to 80 percent since then, depending on the region. Peatlands are mostly found in areas with permafrost. They are associated with both lower slopes and highland areas within the steppe, forest steppe and taiga belt ecosystems, and in river valleys in the lowland steppe (Minayeva et al., 2016). Half of the country’s peatlands are covered in sedge fens, which provide highly productive pastures (Minayeva et al., 2016).
Cartographer: Nieves Lopez Izquierdo