Xilin Gol Grassland [Xilinguole]
Xilin Gol Grassland (xī lín guō lè dà cǎo yuán 锡林郭勒大草原) in Xilin Hot City (xī lín hào tè shì 锡林浩特市), Xilin Gol Prefecture of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, about 600 km north of Beijing (běi jīng 北京). It was established as China’s first grassland biosphere reserve in 1987. ”Xilin Gol” means ”river on the plateau” in the Mongolian language. This grassland covers more than 200,000 square kilometers on the Mongolian Plateau.
Xilin Gol Grassland was established as China’s first grassland biosphere reserve in 1987 to protect the biodiversity of a typical steppe ecosystem and to develop models of sustainable grassland resource use for improved well-being of the local people. The area is extensively grazed by wild herbivores and domestic livestock managed mainly by sedentary herders.
Before 1950, the area was used by nomadic Mongols as pasture land. After the establishment of four state-run livestock farms for breeding fine-wool sheep, 13% of the inhabitants of the biosphere reserve (in total 125,850 people in 1999) live on these farms whereas 87% in the town of Xilin Hot. The population of this city has rapidly expanded with increased investments in mining and oil industry. People are mainly ethnic Han (hàn zú 汉族), but there are also about 28% Mongols in the biosphere reserve.
Several development projects have been set up to meet the multiple objectives of the biosphere reserve. For example, a demonstration farm, raising traditional animals of the grassland such as horses, sheep and goats, has been established to present alternative practices and means of animal husbandry to local herders.
Amazing LandscapeXilin River
To the east and north of Xilin Hot, the Ujimqin (wū zhū mù qìn 乌珠穆沁) Grassland stretches far away. The terrain is flat, with numerous rivers and small lakes. While the Xilin Gol Grassland is considered the best grassland in China and even Asia, Ujimqin is the best of Xilin Gol.
The most beautiful place on the prairie is the bend on the Xilin River (xī lín hé 锡林河), the soul of the grassland. The meandering river is like a silver ribbon conjuring up visions of the remote past. Originating in Chifeng City (chì fēng shì 赤峰市), the 270 kilometers river winds like a Hada (hǎ dá 哈达) (a long piece of silk used as a greeting gift among the Mongolian and Tibetan people) near Xilin Hot, a stunning attraction to people from far and near. Volcano lava is witness to the enormous geological changes, which have taken place on the Xilin Gol Grassland.
resourcesXilin Gol Grassland is the most representative temperate steppe for Stipa grass and Chinese wildrye. It is the most complete wild grassland in the grassland subzone of East Asia in the Eurasian steppe region. The type of ecological environment in the conservation district is special, having basic characteristics of coenosis in the grassland, and fully reflecting the structure and ecological processes of typical grassland ecosystems in the Inner Mongolian Plateau. At present, there are 74 families, 299 genera and 658 species of seed plants, 73 species of bryophyte and 46 species of macro-fungi, including 426 species of medicinal plant and 116 species of fine pasture. Wildlife distributed in conservation district reflects the features of the Inner Mongolian Plateau Flora, including 33 species of mammals, such as Mongolian gazelle, wolf and fox, and 76 species of birds. Five of the bird species are under first class national protection, namely, Red-crowned crane, stork, bustard, haliaeetus leucoryphus; and 21 species of wildlife are under second class national protection: including whooper swans and Aquila rapax. This district is currently the nation’s largest natural reserve of the types of grassland and meadow ecosystems and it plays an important role in the international movement to protect biodiversity conservation of grassland creature.
The Best Time to Travel
In summer, especially from June to September. Xilin Gol Grassland belongs to the middle temperate and semi-arid continental climate zone. The climate in Xilin Gol Prefecture is gale, drought and cold. The average annual temperature is 32 F to 37.4 F, with the lowest temperature of -4 F in January and the highest 69.8 F in July. The different temperature between day and night is from 53.6 F to 60.8 F. It rained a lot in July, August and September. The cold days will last seven months and frozen days last five months. So DO NOT go in spring and autumn because of sandstorm.