Ecology of Azerbaijan
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Landscape of Azerbaijan

Definition: The environmental problem refers to undesirable changes, which occur in the environment as a result of human activity and which have a negative influence on human health, the state of the ecosystem and the ability of the environment to function.

Analysis of the environment in Azerbaijan revealed that the most acute problems are in the area of environmental preservation.

From the territorial point of view, the parameters of the distribution of the negative influence of anthropogenic processes on the environment are quite different and spread to a certain extent all over the territory of the Republic.

Almost 30% of the coastal area is exposed to contamination. More than half the rivers (50.6%) which are more than 100 km in length are 

considered to be contaminated. All the lakes of the low- lying parts of the Republic are exposed to the changes of the thermal, biological and chemical regimes. The lakes of the Apsheron Peninsula and the Kura Araks Lowland with a total area of more than 200 km2 are in a critical state.

Baku, Sumgait and Ganja are on the top of the list of the cities with a high level of environmental contamination. In these cities, the contamination level according to the amount of different contaminants is several times higher than the average level in the Republic. More than 60% of the Republic's territory is already exposed to erosion processes of various intensity, including 16% being strongly-eroded, 14.8% being averagely-eroded and 31.2% being slightly eroded. Up to 80% of the mountainous area and more than 45% of agricultural lands are exposed to erosion. The area of salinized lands all over the Republic is almost 1.5 million hectares or 50% of all agricultural lands. The area of technogenically damaged and contaminated regions constitutes almost 25 thousand hectares.

Among the most acute and typical problems relating to the protection of flora are: an extremely high (83.8%) share of woodless territories, pollution of forests by industrial waste (12 thousand hectares), cattle pasture (15.5 thousand hectares) and recreation activities (about 2 thousand hectares).

The strongest anthropogenic impact on forests is the felling of timber for fuel, which has become especially acute during the last years due to a rapid decrease in the natural gas supply and the lack of other types of fuel (bituminous coal, kerosene and others). Practically more than 65% of the population of the Republic suffers from a lack of fuel, and due to this, the use of timber for heating living spaces has increased 3-4 times, mainly using local resources. There has been a depletion in the forest berry fields, mushroom areas and medicinal flora. Due to military hostilities and the presence of more than 1 million refugees resulting in demographic redistribution, there has been a sharp increase in population pressure on the central regions. Growth in the number of agricultural animals displaced from the territories under occupation is a real threat which may cause over-grazing and a depletion of the main plain pastures of the Republic. The situation with fauna is in close correlation with flora. With the reduction of habitat areas and an increase in anthropogenic pressure, the abundance and variety of fauna is reduced. The list of rare and endangered species of fauna and flora to be included in the "Red Book" has been considerably extended.

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