Flora and Fauna
Mongolia is divided into several natural regions, each with its characteristic plant and animal life. These regions are the mountain forests near Russia Siberian border, the mountain steppe and hilly forest farther south, the lowland steppe grasslands, the semi-desert, and finally the true desert. Larch and Siberian stone pine are characteristic trees of the northern forests, which are inhabited by bear, Manchurian red deer, snow panther, wild boar and elk. The saiga antelope and the wild horse are typical steppe dwellers. After the collapse of the communist rule in the early 1990s, Mongolian economy has changed drastically. This had resulted in an increase in urbanization, illegal hunting, mineral extraction, and livestock numbers, all of which have had massive implications for Mongolian flora and fauna. Although some 30% of Mongolian territory is afforded some level of protected area status, the effectiveness of these protected areas, and the effect of the threat processes are not fully understood with many species having experienced drastic declines.