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Land degradation processes in the mountains of Central Asia

 

One of the main challenges confronting the sustainable development is the processes of water and land resources degradation, reduction of water quality and large-scale desertification, salinization and bogging of soil.

 

Welfare in Central Asia largely depends on the natural balance in the river formation zones – the mountain ecosystems of Pamirs, Tien-Shan and Altai. The mountains of Central Asia experience increasing degradation processes, such as deforestation and erosion, pollution, contamination with wastes and reduction of grazing lands.

 

The mountains of the Central Asia are under threat. Illegal logging, uncontrolled livestock grazing, and the plowing of slopes has led to an increased number of landslides, mudflows and general soil erosion.

 

Over-exploitation of natural resources, unsustainable land practices, and deficiencies in forest management are leading to their degradation.

 

Consequent destruction of related ecosystems has led to significant reduction of biodiversity. The number of species and plants, which have disappeared or are endangered to extinct, grows constantly. In some cases these processes are irreversible.

 

One of the major environmental challenges facing the Aral Sea region is wind erosion of the dried bed of Aral Sea. Each year about 75 million tons of sand, dust and salt is blown by the wind from the bottom of the drained sea as a result of deflationary processes. Millions of tons of toxic and chemical sands spread across hundreds of miles of neighbouring farmland, also seriously impacting the health of the population.

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