The peculiarities of relief, geomorphology, climate (aridity, strong winds, great temperature amplitude), hydrography and hydrology (uneven distribution of surface and underground w,aters according to area and time, mineralization of rivers), geomorphologic structure (existence of weak soils, their alternation with rocky soils, powerful strata of clay, especially of sedimentary soils), tectonics and seismic tectonics (intensive rise of mountain systems and lowering of hollows, high seismicity and others) with intensive anthropogenic pressure (especially during the last 70 years and intensive development of exogenous geological processes and events have resulted in the different degrees of damage to the territory depending on the vertical distribution of zones and geological structure.
Land resources are extremely limited in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Thus, there are 0.2 hectares of arable lands and 0.6 hectares of agricultural lands per capita. In the structure of agricultural lands the share of pastures is 51.6%, arable lands 30.2% and the share of perennial plantations is 12.8%. Hayfields and fallow lands make up 5.4%. Approximately one third of the Republicís land resources are not suitable for agriculture. Irrigated lands constitute 1350 thousand hectares including 950 thousand hectares of arable lands.
The most common type of erosion is water erosion, which occurs in plane, ravine and irrigation forms. Plane wash out is intensive at slopes, where it varies from 105 to 516 m3/hectares per year. Wind erosion mainly occurs in the coastal area of the Republic, at the Apsheron Peninsula, south eastern part of Shirvan, Djeyranchel, etc..
The economic damage of erosion processes constitutes more than 5 billion rubles, with relation to prices before 1990.
Mud flows and land slides are also wide spread, covering 310 km2 and 420 km2 respectively. More than 1,5 million m3 of fertile lands are washed out by mud flows annually and the land slides cause damage, not only to land resources, but also to industrial facilities. The role of anthropogenic factors in the destruction of topsoil is extremely high. One such factor is chemical contamination caused by the use of mineral fertilizers and toxic chemicals. In total, in the Republic, more than 840 thousand hectares are treated by toxic chemicals, including 400 thousand hectares treated by herbicides. The decrease in the use of chemical fertilizers and toxic chemicals by almost 10 times during recent years has resulted in a decrease in soil contamination in agricultural regions. Particularly dangerous for soil and landscape is a discharge of heavy metals together with poisonous chemicals, as their accumulation in the soil may result in irrevocable changes to the soil.
As a result of intensive economic and town planning activities, there is a tendency towards an annual increase of technogenically destroyed, contaminated and cluttered up lands, the area of which exceeds 20 thousand hectares, including those contaminated by oil 12 thousand hectares, waste from the chemical industry more than 100 hectares, dumps along the canals 5.6 thousand hectares, excavation of mineral resources 1.6 thousand hectares. The annual economic damage caused only from contamination by solid domestic waste constitutes more than 50 million rubles (in prices prior to 1990).
According to preliminary data, in order to prevent erosion processes it is necessary to arrang
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