In the U.S.S.R., desert lands occupy about 250 million hectares or 10 percent of the total country area. The deserts possess large amounts of mineral, water, soil and forage resources. They play an important role in the economy of the country. The amount of livestock reaches 50 million head, including 17 million head of sheep (15 million sheep of karakul breed). Irrigated lands in the U.S.S.R. deserts total 8.3 million hectares.