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Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 889;

Status of Nature Reserves in Inner Mongolia, China

Department of Ecology, College of Life Sciences, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
Grassland Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hohhot 010010, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Iain Gordon
Received: 21 May 2016 / Revised: 22 August 2016 / Accepted: 30 August 2016 / Published: 2 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Nature reserves are an important component of the strategy to halt biodiversity loss caused by habitat fragmentation and loss, climate change and other anthropogenic factors. In the past decades, 184 nature reserves were designed for biodiversity conservation in Inner Mongolia. However, no studies have quantified the general condition of these reserves. In this paper, we summarized the history, distribution and effects of human interference on these reserves in Inner Mongolia. The results showed that: (1) The total area of nature reserves is 138,047 km2 in Inner Mongolia. This constitutes 11.7% of its geographic area, which is lower than the national (14.9%), and the global average (13%). These reserves are mainly forest (68) and inland wetland (31) ecosystems. However, in terms of area, desert (40,948 km2), forest (26,141 km2) and inland wetland ecosystems (25,540 km2) are predominant; (2) nature reserves have increased rapidly in number and area since 1995, especially at the province, city, and county levels; (3) the evergreen coniferous (26.4%), wetland (20.2%) and deciduous needle-leaf forests (19.6%) were sufficiently protected according to the 2020 target of 17% set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, while the other eight natural vegetation types, i.e., evergreen broad-leaved forests (14.2%), shrubs (13.5%), meadow vegetation (12.5%), typical steppe (10.2%), open forests (8.9%), desert vegetation (6.2%), desert steppe (2.9%), and sand vegetation (1.6%) were insufficiently protected; (4) the effects of human activities on these vegetation types were different. Open forest, sand vegetation, shrub, typical steppe, meadow steppe, evergreen broad-leaved, and evergreen coniferous forest were more affected than other vegetation types. Our results indicated that a more scientific approach is needed to effectively manage nature reserves in Inner Mongolia. View Full-Text
Keywords: Inner Mongolia; nature reserve; vegetation type; human interference; protection strategy Inner Mongolia; nature reserve; vegetation type; human interference; protection strategy

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Ma, W.; Feng, G.; Zhang, Q. Status of Nature Reserves in Inner Mongolia, China. Sustainability 2016, 8, 889.

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