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- Key words: arid zone, desert, desertization, rangelands, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, livestock, wildlife
- Page(s) : 169-78
- Published in: 2006
The Middle Asian steppe and deserts cover most of the southern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and, pro parte, the mountainous Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The climate is Mediterranean with very cold winter and with monomodal spring precipitation regime with a low interannual variability. The vegetation types on calcareous soils, with dominant hemicryptophytes et chamaephytes, belong to the Irano-Turanian Region similar to those encountered in the Ibero-Maghribian Province of the Mediterranean region, and are grazed by shepherds who became sedentary during the Soviet period. After 1991, the urgent need to produce more irrigated and rainfed wheat induced the strong decline of barley cropping and increased rangeland utilization by livestock and fuel wood collection. In spite of successful efforts to rehabilitating, new degradations on Middle Asian rangelands are emerging. Catastrophic desertification could well take over as in North Africa and the Middle East.