The Lenkoran-Astara Zone
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The Lenkoran-Astara ecological zone covers the Lenkoran and Talysh physical-geographic regions. The Lenkoran region occupies a low-lying area which extends along the western coast of the Caspian. It begins in the north-west of Jalilabad and extends to Aitara, heing adjacent to the foot of the Talysh mountains in the west. The relief of the lowland rises up to 100m in the western part. The climate of the lowland-is moderate/warm with an arid summer. The annual average air temperature is 14oC, the annual precipitation amount is more than 1600mm in the south-east and 900 mm in the north-west, i.e. two times less. The majority of precipitation occurs in the coldest part of the year. Western and partially south-eastern winds are dominant. A sharp difference in the amount of precipitation, as well as a dificiency in evaporation during a year (100mm in the south-east, 700mm in the north-west) leads to the change of the lowland topsoil. In the east zheltozems (the yellow soils)-podzolic grey soils, and in the west-zheltozems-strongly and average podzolic soils, dominale. In the north-west these types of soil turn into brown post-timber alkali soils. Middle and mainly post-timber vegetation combined with bushes and light forest are spread in the eastern part of the lowlands. Close to the foot of the mountains there are deciduous forests with a dominance of Girkan relic types, and in the north-west of the Lenkoran region there are steppe like post-timbcr meadows. The natural landscapcs are sharply reduced because of the cultured landscapes. The tea-growing, early vegetable-growing, subtropical fruit-growing and vine-growing are developed in the Lenkoran region.

The Talysh region borders with Iran in the west and the Lenkoran lowland in the east. Its relief rises from 50m to 2436m (Gizyurdi mountain). The territory of the region is formed from paleogenic, volcanogenic and volcanogenic-sedimentary deposits. The Talysh region is adjacent to the low-mountain relief in the east and to the middle-mountain relief of denudation-structural origin in the

south-west. Mineral thermal springs of hydrocarbon composition along-the foothill line and sulfate-carbonate mineral springs having medicinal properties have been detected in the north-western part of the region. On the relatively small territory of the Talysh mountans five climatic types have developed. The eaitern area-is characterized by a moderate/warm climate with an almost even distrihution of precipitation. The central part is characterized by a moderate/warm and dry summer, which turns into the climate of moderate-warm semi-descrts and dry-steppes with a dry surnmer. In the near peak part of the Kumurkey mountains a clim itc of cold semi-deserts and dry steppes with a dry summer is normal; north and north-west of the Kalapatu rnountains (2903m) along the watershed line the climate is cold witha dry summer.

In the east of-the Talysh mountains low power mountainous zheltozems (yellow soils) and podzolic soils are widely spread. To the west of them up along the mountainous slopes mountainous-timber brown, typical and brown typical, alkali soils are developing. The eastern slope of the Talysh Ridge-is under mountainous-timher brown soils, and its watershed line is under mountainous-meadow turf soils. Between Yardimli and Lerik deciduous forests have heen preserved, which consist ot Quercus castaneifolia, breeches, box-trees,and others. Thc remaining parts of the mountains are under bushes. The upland xerophytes occur on the lower area of the Talysh Ridge and Suhalpine meadows and meadow-steppei occur mostly in the protuberant parti of the watershed.

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