Flora

Flora

     The HNP is a key site for biodiversity of these southern forest steppe. Research and conservation activities were extended. Around Hustai mountain range is cool and relatively humid, while arid and warmer conditions prevail in the depressions. There are high mountains, hills, valleys and differences in soils and microclimate are reflected in a vegetation zonation with steppe, mountain steppe and forest steppe. About 88% of the park was covered by steppe, and 95% of its territory is suitable for grazing. In recent years, the forests of HNP started to dry out significantly, and the entire landscape has changed. As of today, steppe habitats at a total 179 km² and mountain steppe at 267 km² are the dominant habitat types and now already cover about 90 % of the park area. Mountain steppe area increased compare to previous study.

     The flora of the region is relatively rich compared to other sites in Mongolia. Manibazar (1996), Manibazar et al. (1999) and Bulgan (2002) and others studied the vascular plant flora and the vegetation cover (Wallis de Vries et al. 1996; Van Staalduinen 2007), and published lists of vascular plants, as well as a vegetation map of the HNP. Also, Kherlenchimeg (2001), Enkhtuya (2001) and Tsegmed (2003) studied the fungi, lichens and mosses of the HNP, respectively. There are 217 species of medicinal plants (Sanjid 1999), 236 species of mellifluous plants (Ochirbat 1999), and 200 species of forage vascular plants were recorded in HNP. Here, we provide an updated and comprehensive list of vascular plant species of the HNP, and also analyse the flora with respect to life-form and ecological groups composition and biogeography.

     A total of 493 vascular plant species belonging to 246 genera and 65 families were recorded in the HNP with Dicotyledons being the main group (Table 2, full list as electronic supplement 1). The main plant families in terms of species numbers are Asteraceae (67 species), followed by Poaceae (56 species), Fabaceae (51 species), Rosaceae (33 species). These 5 largest families comprise 47% of the total flora (Table 3). Artemisia is the largest genus represented by 19 species (Tab. 4), followed by Astragalus (14 species), Potentilla (13), Carex (11), Allium (10) and Oxytropis (10). Together, they account for 16% of all species.

Table 2. Floristic richness of HNP. 

Plant group Families Genera Species
Pteridophyta 5 5 7
Gymnosperms 3 3 4
Angiosperms 57 239 482
   Monocotyledons 9 43 97
   Dicotyledons 48 196 385
Total vascular flora 65 247 493

     The Pteridophyta are represented by 7 species in the HNP, all herbaceous.  They are all considered vulnerable, because of their dependence on forest habitats. Currently, these forests cover 13.1 km² (Tuwshintogtokh et al. 2013), dominated by Betula platyphylla and Populus tremula.

     The next bigger families (6-8th) are Brassicaceae (21 species), Amaranthaceae (19), Polygonaceae, while 34 families are represented by only 1 and/or 2 species each, while 10 families represented by 3-4 species. Thus, 68% of the families are represented by 4 species or less (rare), accounting for a mere 17 % of species composition. 

Table 3.  Species richness of the main vascular plant families in the HNP.

  Biggest families of flora of HNP Number.

genera

Number species Percent of flora
1 ASTERACEAE 30 67 13.8
2 POACEAE 27 56 11.4
3 FABACEAE 14 51 10.3
4 ROSACEAE 14 33 6.7
5 RANUNCULACEAE 11 24 4.9

The dominant species are Stipa krylovii, S. klemenzii, Artemisia frigida, A. dracunculus, Carex duriuscula, C. korshinskyi, Cymbaria dahurica in both steppes and mountain steppes, while Festuca ovina and F. lenensis dominate in the summit regions of the mountains. Two species are endemic, 24 species are subendemic. Ten species are have been recorded as regionally threatened and conservation status and 19 species are relict (according to Urgamal et al. 2014).