The problem of land degradation and desertification is becoming more urgent from year to year. Land degradation in arid and semiarid regions of the world, caused by the climate change, on the one hand, and anthropogenic activities, on the other, affecting nearly 1.4 billion hectares of lands in Asia and over 1 billion hectares of lands in Africa. It involves about one billion people; the existence of nearly 150 million people is endangered. The desertification processes are global. Basic driving forces of desertification and land degradation are climate change, deforestation, improper irrigation, excessive use of agricultural lands, and overgrazing.
Despite the abundance of water resources and presence of humid regions, deserts occupy a part of Tajikistanís territory. They comprise 40% of the Eastern Pamirs, small areas (30-40 thousand hectares) in southern and northern Tajikistan within the lower reaches of Pyandj, Vakhsh, Kafirnigan, and Syrdarya rivers. Natural desertification is observed in many zones of Tajikistan, which is due to its geographical location among the large deserts of Eurasia: Gobi, Karakum, Kyzylkum, and Taklamakan.
Mountain ecosystems, flora and fauna of Tajikistan add to the biological diversity of Central Asian region and prevent land degradation. However, the mountain landscapes are subject to the processes of land degradation and desertification because of intensive use of natural resources and their subsequent deterioration.
Gully and landslide formation progress; they are dangerous forms of erosion and land degradation. Other affecting factors are development of road and irrigation networks.
Due to the lack of pasture turnover, virtually all winter pastures and 80% of summer pastures suffer from desertification; the natural productivity of pastures considerably reduces.
The main anthropogenic factors that influence and intensify the erosion processes in Tajikistan are:
All these anthropogenic factors are to some extent responsible for the intensifying land degradation and desertification processes in Tajikistan. A considerable impact on the desertification process was caused by a severe drought of 2000-2001, which affected 300 thousand hectares of lands, and the damage was US$100 millions.
Last update 03/03/2003