Changbaishan Nature Reserve, established in 1960, was involved in the UNESCO's "Man and Biosphere" program in 1980 and becomes part of the world's biosphere reserves. Approved by the State Council in 1986, it becomes a State-level reserve.
The range plays an important economic role. It is known for a variety of ginseng that grows there. In addition, the heavily forested slopes are an important area for logging. In recent years, tourism has also become an increasingly important source of revenue on the Chinese side.
The climate in the mountains is very cold during winter, with absolute minima on the highest peaks in January as low as −45°C (−49°F), but reaching 17°C (62°F) in July. Precipitation is low in the winter but in the higher parts very high in the summer, with annual averages reaching as high as 1,150 mm (45 inches) and over 300 mm (12 inches) in July alone. The dry winters mean there are no glaciers even on the highest and wettest peaks, but permafrost extends down to 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) and is continuous on the highest peaks.
The Changbai Mountains has a temperate continental climate, characterized by long and cold winter, cool, short and changeable summer, windy spring and autumn foggy, with an annual average temperature at -7 °C to 3 °C. Under the impact of vertical changes of mountainous terrain, there are four landscape belts from the foot to the top of the mountain, from Temperate Zone to Frigid Zone, which is rare in the world.
The rugged terrain of the Changbai Mountains provides refuge for many rare animals, including Amur leopards, bears, and Siberian tigers. A large portion of the Jilin Province side is protected as the Changbai Nature Reserve (長白山自然保護區), which covers more than 2,100 square kilometres.
Liu, Q.J., Takamura, T., Takeuchi, N., Shao, G. (2002). Mapping of boreal vegetation of a temperate mountain in China by multitemporal LANDSAT imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing 23(17), 3385–3405.