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Establishment of a New Migration Monitoring Network across China for the Siberian Crane and Other Waterbirds
Technical Brief 2.09 MB PDF

Poyang Lake Ecology Study
Fact Sheet 781 KB PDF

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Keerqin National Nature Reserve

Geographic Location

The reserve is located between 44° 51’ - 45° 17’ N and 121° 40’ - 122° 14’ E, at 167-261 m above the sea level. It is situated 27 km west of Bayanhushu Town in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. Keerqin is contiguous with Xianghai NNR along the Jilin-Inner Mongolia border.


The reserve is composed of brackish lagoons, fresh water rivers, meadows and marshes, river valleys and flats, depressions, natural secondary forest, brushwood, and salinized lands. Protection is needed for Keerqin grassland and wetland ecosystems and rare waterbirds, especially cranes and storks. The Huolin, Emutai and Tuqian Rivers are connected with each other forming the water system for the reserve. Total site area ~126,987 ha.

The reserve has rich underground and surface water resources. Three rivers flow across its territory - Huolin, Emutai and Tuqian, Huolin River being the largest river in the site with annual runoff capacity 291,000,000 m3. Vast wetlands play an important role in regulation of the groundwater level and purifying the water quality. The average water level is in the range of 0.5-1.0 m in the river valleys and lowlands.

The site is famous mostly for its ornithological significance. So far 167 bird species have been identified for the site, six of which are cranes – three migratory (Siberian, Hooded, Common Cranes) and three breeding species (Red-crowned, White-naped, and Demoiselle Cranes). In addition, there are 18 species of birds of prey. The site regularly supports over 20,000 waterbirds.

Conservation Status

Grazing leads to habitat loss and degradation, and to soil desertification. Crop cultivation is considered as another source of pressure, which has been reduced by 80% since the reserve was established. Hunting pressure is high, however, it has been controlled to an acceptable level. Collecting plants of high economic value has destroyed natural forests, brushwood and grassland habitats leading to habitat fragmentation, deterioration, and soil desertification. Fishery activities may have little effect on natural ecosystems because the reserve has developed a sustainable project to maintain the fish resource. All of the above activities have increased disturbance to waterbirds. There is not enough water to ensure a constant supply to the wetlands. The southern river was dammed in the past, and though it contributes to flood control it cannot provide enough water for the local residents.

SCWP Objectives

A water resource co-management plan is being developed in collaboration with the Xianghai NNR and local water bureaus. The project is investigating wildlife, vegetation and hydrological conditions to monitor the changes in distribution, extent and quality of wetland habitats and water quality, with particular reference to grazing and agricultural practices. A public education and information center will be established, providing an outlet for local people and visitors to the reserve. The SCWP will work to increase the reserve area by 9.4% with a change of 13,000 ha.


Annual waterbird surveys continue to demonstrate the special regional features of the reserve, remarking specifically on the rich resources of bird species.


6 Siberian Cranes were found during summer 2005 waterbird survey.  Photo taken 20 September 2005

Cattle farmer at Keerqin NNR

Demoiselle crane at Keerqin NNR

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Last update: March 23, 2005.

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