Uvs Nuur Basin (2003)
Mongolia

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The Uvs Nuur Basin (1,068,853 ha), is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds. The site is made up of twelve protected areas representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the desert is home to a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains are an important refuge for the globally endangered snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex. 

The Uvs Nuur Basin is a transboundary property, that extends into Siberia (on this site), where a number of stamps of wildlife, common to both the Siberian part of the region, and the Mongolian part, are shown. 

Mongolia 2001. Souvenir sheet. Endangered species in steppe zone.

In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that the closed salt lake system of Uvs Nuur is of international scientific importance because of its climatic and hydrological regimes. Because of the unchanging nature of the nomadic pastoral use of the grasslands within the basin over thousands of years, current research programmes should be able to unravel the rate at which Uvs Nuur (and other smaller lakes within the basin) have become saline (and eutrophic). These processes are on-going and because of its unique geophysical and biological characteristics, the basin has been chosen as an IGBP site for monitoring global warming. 

The Uvs Nuur site has a large range of ecosystems, representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia, with a number of endemic plants. Although the basin is inhabited and has been used for nomadic pastoralism for thousands of years, the mountains, forests, steppes and deserts are extremely important habitats for a wide range of wild animals, many of them threatened or endangered. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the deserts a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains at the western end of the basin are important refuges for the globally threatened snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex. Uvs Nuur itself is an important habitat for waterfowl as well as for birds migrating south from Siberia.

Other World Cultural Heritage Properties in Mongolia (on this web site). For more information about the individual properties, please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Mongolia-section. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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