Intensive observations, analysis and modeling within the framework of the rangelands atmosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere interaction study experiment in northeastern Asia (RAISE) project, have allowed investigations into the hydrologic cycle in the ecotone of forest-steppe, and its relation to atmosphere and ecosystem in the eastern part of Mongolia. In this region, changes in the climate have been reported and a market oriented economy was introduced recently, but their impact on the natural environment is still not well understood. In this RAISE special issue, the outcome is presented of the studies carried out by six groups within RAISE, namely: (1) Land-atmosphere interaction analysis, (2) ecosystem analysis and modeling, (3) hydrologic cycle analysis, (4) climatic modeling, (5) hydrologic modeling, and (6) integration. The results are organized in five relevant categories comprising (i) hydrologic cycle including precipitation, groundwater, and surface water, (ii) hydrologic cycle and ecosystem, (iii) surface-atmosphere interaction, (iv) effect of grazing activities on soils, plant ecosystem and surface fluxes, and (v) future prediction. Comparison with studies on rangelands in other parts of the world, and some future directions of studies still needed in this region are also summarized.
Keywords: Arid region; Climatic change; Environmental changes; Mongolia; RAISE; Rangelands.
Copyright © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.