Afghanistan shares several
other mountain ranges with Pakistan that block moisture to create the very dry, arid climate. The Pamir mountains are near the border of Tajikistan. The northeastern central highlands are very prone to earthquakes; the region experiences over fifty earthquakes each year. The central highlands are the lowest elevation in Afghanistan and part of the much larger Central Asian Steppe . The Amu Darya is the major river in the area at over 1,500 miles (2,539 km) long; it is so ancient that it is sometimes called by its Latin name, the Oxus River. The river originates in the Pamir glaciers and 600 miles (965 km) of the river divides Afghanistan from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This waterway is a major source of irrigation for crops in the region. Because the country is landlocked, most of the rivers drain into inland lakes. Sometimes the rivers simply dry up when they reach the dry, sandy desert regions
Historically, one of the most important worldwide responsibilities of forest services is the reestablishment of forests on land that has been destroyed or deforested. Everything from floods to fires to overcutting to poor farming practices can lead to deforestation. For over a century, worldwide reforestation programs have been integral to the planet. Tree seedlings are placed after large wildfires or natural disasters. However, reforestation is a challenge in Afghanistan, given that many of the country’s remote peoples depend on wood as their primary energy source for fires. This has led to a timber crisis in the country, but global groups are trying to help alleviate the crisis by providing assistance and education about the drawbacks of deforestation.
AFGHANISTAN’S GEOGRAPHY & LANDSCAPE 13
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