Mongolia, the second largest land-locked country in the world, covers 603,909 square miles (1,564,166 km2) of East Asia.
With an average elevation of 5,184 ft (1,580 m), Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world. The highest point of the country is the Khuiten Peak stretching 14,350 ft (4,374 m) into the clouds.
Commonly nick-named the "Land of Blue Sky," Mongolia enjoys over 250 sunny days per year.The junction of Sibern taiga, Central Asian steppes, and the Gobi Desert, Mongolia has a unique combination of landscapes, wildlife, and ecosystems.
High Mountain (Alpine) - These regions consist of three main mountain ranges: Altai, Khangai, and Khentii. Located high above the tree line, these areas include frozen tundras, alpine meadows, high swamplands, and boulder fields. The climate? Extremely cold. This causes a short growing season. Khuiten, the tallest peak in the country reaches 14,350 ft (4,374 m). Though they stretch magnificently high, these mountain ranges make up only five percent of Mongolia.
Taiga - Only found in Northern Mongolia, these regions cover five percent of Mongolia. The taiga receives more precipitation (12 to 16 inches annually) and lower temperatures than most of Mongolia. This allows for the plant growing period to be shorter.
Forest Steppe - These regions make up about 25 percent of Mongolia. With lush pastures, an abundance of wood, and plenty of water, these areas are highly populated with herders and their livestock.
Steppe - These regions cover Eastern Mongolia almost entirely, and extend west just south of Khangai and Khan Khukhii Mountains all the way to the the Great Lakes Depression. In the central and western areas of the country, the steppe provides many of the nation's most important grazing lands for domestic livestock.
Desert Steppe - Occuping more than 20 percent of Mongolia, these regions extend across the country between the desert and steppe. This zone includes the Great Lakes Depression and the area between the Khangai and Altai mountain ranges. The Eastern Gobi area is also included. The zone is characteristed by low-lying areas, salt pans, and small ponds. The climate is dry with frequent droughts and an annual precipitation of 4-5 inches (100-125 mm.). Strong winds and dust storms keep a lot from thriving in these areas.
Desert - Mainly comprised of the Gobi Desert, these regions cover Southern Mongolia and Northeastern China. Though rugged and beautiful, the expanses of the Gobi Desert are inhospitable. Vegetation is sparse, and formations vary from majestic mountain massifs to pavement-like plateus to dreamy sand dunes. As you would expect in a desert, the climate is extreme. Precipitation may fall only once every two to three years, and temperatures climb as high as 104° F (40° C) in summer, and fall as low as -40° F (-40° C) in winter.