chapter  7
29 Pages

Grasslands of Kazakhstan and Middle Asia: Ecology, Conservation and Use of a Vast and Globally Important Area

Located in the center of Eurasia, the region of Kazakhstan and Middle Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan; regional delimitation sensu Rachkovskaya et al., 2003) straddles two continents-Asia (85 per cent) and Europe (15 per cent; Fig. 7.1). The respective countries shared a similar natural, cultural and political history, including a membership in the Soviet Union, in the 20th century. Together, the region has a size of 4,008,139 km² and spans approximately 2,000 km from north to south and 2,800 km from west to east. Its northern border is aligned with European Russia, Siberia and the Altai mountains. The mountain systems of the Altai, Tarbagatai, Dzhungarian Alatau and the eastern ranges of the Tian Shan and Pamir form its eastern border, with the latter two mountain systems separating the region from the neighboring Tarim Basin. Its western edge borders on the Caspian Sea, while its southern edge aligns with the borders of Afghanistan and Iran.