Ordos Desert

The Ordos Plateau is a steppe and desert-like landscape in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China. Previously, the region also He- tau and later He- nan was called ( "land south of the river "). The plateau has an average altitude of 1200 m above sea level. NN and is today largely to the administrative area of the city of Ordos.


The plateau is bordered in the west, north and east of the great bend of the Yellow River. To the north of the Yellow River Mountains separate the Kara- Naryn - ula, Sheitenula, and in Shan - foothills of Hinggan - the level of the Gobi. In the south and east of the Great Wall delimits the plateau of fertile loess Shaanxi. The area is about 90,000 km ². The Ordosebene covers the southern part of Inner Mongolia, but also the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and the provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

Desert character

The northern part of the plateau consists of steppes and semi- deserts, which pass partly sandy desert. Even if it is more than a steppe desert, it is classified by some scientists as part of the Alashan desert or the Gobi. In the southern part sporadic modest farming is possible when there is enough water available from rivers. The precipitates take from west to east, accordingly goes in this direction, the extensive livestock farming of sheep and goats to normal agriculture over. So in the north only grow grasses and scattered shrubs, while the south occur (eg, field wormwood on the dunes in the north) more bushes and dense vegetation.


The desert can be viewed as a middle stage between the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau and the plains to the east of China. To the south, it rises to a height of over 1,500 m. In the West, Arbisoberge run along the Yellow River. Stand out from the level of about 900 m and provide a link to the Alashan dar.

The northern part of the Great River arch is covered with 12 to 15 m high dunes. In some places these dunes extend close to the river, at other points is a separating belt of sand and clay therebetween which forms cliffs, which can be up to 30 m above the river. The sand dunes can run away on the opposite shore, where they are crossed by dry river beds.

The in Shan north of the river differs from the other mountain ranges in southern Mongolia through the water and the hence rich vegetation. A mountain range, the Munni - ula, is also characterized by steep slopes and narrow, rough canyons.


The area was occupied over several centuries of nomadic horse people who were often at war with the government of China. Maybe it was also about Eastern Turks. In the first and second centuries AD, it was part of the Xiongnu. After the uprising of the Muslim minority, the Hui Chinese, 1869, the country was partly depopulated.

In 1989, the population of the Ordos Plateau amounted to 1.2 million, of which 88% were Han Chinese and only 12% of Mongolians. 83 % of the population lived in the countryside, 17% in urban areas.


The climate of the Ordos is characterized by dry cold winters and warm, humid summer. The annual total precipitation is 200 mm in the west and up to 450 mm in the east, falling mainly during thunderstorms from June to September. In January the average temperature is -13 to -10 ° C, to cold winds come from the north and west. However, the precipitation has a large variability, so that the risk of drought is quite large. An additional climatic feature is the frequent occurrence of strong winds.

The soil consists of a mixture of clay and sand, which is why he is little for agriculture. The area has some of soda deposits, which are mined. A significant portion of the soil of the Ordos is degraded because the one in the 20th century - especially 1958-1962 and 1967-1972 - about 20 % of the pastures were converted into arable land. On the other overgrazing took place due to population increase, as more and more cattle were kept on the same surface. Both together resulted in conjunction with the natural rainfall variability in an increasing erosion of the unstable sand and loess soils and thus to desertification.