Factors and consequences of desertification processes in the mountains of Central Asia
Ecological diversity of mountains and foothills of Central Asia sharply contrasting the frugal monotonous nature of the adjacent arid plains, contributed to the establishment of the most ancient Central Asia civilizations in the foothills. Vicinity of the desert-like plains imposed a continuous threat for population and economy. The pressure was both climatic (draught, dust storms, etc.) and military threat (nomadic tribes). These threats forced the citizens of foothill plains to link their existence with the mountains, especially in the first stages of population development. Vicinity of mountain areas predetermined the development of all-year round livestock with yearly cycle of migration from rangelands (remote high altitude pastures in the mountains in the summer) and agricultural production bound to the rain period. The later provided for stability of yields. Later they started to use water of mountain streams. Centers of the most ancient cultures were found namely on foothill plains in the Central Asia, showing evidence of targeted use of resources concentrated around the boundary between mountains and plains.
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