ABOUT THE AMUR-HEILONG
The Amur river (known as the Heilong in China) flows for over 4,000km, starting in Mongolia and forming the border between north-east China and south-east Russia. Around it is a vast region of grasslands and forests, about 1.85 million sq km in size.
The forests are home for lots of wildlife – not just rare animals, but trees like the Korean pine (the ‘tree of life’ and a major source of pine nuts), and wild ginseng, a traditional medicinal plant.
Many of the forest areas in the Amur-Heilong region remain largely pristine and untouched, but they're coming under growing pressure from increasing development and the need for resources. Because of it's location and latitude many of the regions plant life grows well in Montana. Examples of those species and locations in the arboretum are listed below.
A Living Arboretum
Plants in the Arboretum
Discover the Amur River
WHY THE AMUR-HEILONG IS SO IMPORTANT
The Amur-Heilong region, covering parts of Russia, China and Mongolia, has some of the world’s most intact and extensive ‘temperate’ forests – meaning forests of a rather mild climatic area, that receives heavy rainfall. Although the region here experiences very harsh winters, it nevertheless supports an amazingly varied wildlife.
Its most famous residents include Amur (Siberian) tigers, and also the last remaining wild population of critically endangered Amur leopards – of which there may be around just 70.
Amur tigers and Amur leopards are top predators, which means they play a vital role in keeping a healthy balance of wildlife in their environment – good for the people, animals and plants that depend on it.
The Amur Basin’s vegetation lies mostly in the Taiga zone, with larch as the most common species in the area. The drier parts contain fir, spruce, and pine, while the eastern portions have Amur cork tree (found in the arboretum Old Pond Collection parking lot and pictured on left) and Korean pine. Steppe grassland dominates the west, with conifer and mixed broad-leaved forests are found on the south. The river itself contains over 123 fish species, including 25 species of commercial value. Most fish species, about 100, are found in the Lower Amur. This river is home to some 20 indigenous broadhead and carp species. Other species include Siberian Salmon, burbot, and the sig, with Kaluga as the largest species.