Nuts and Fruit
The plant life of this ecoregion is as appetizing as it is diverse. A variety of fruit and nut trees grows here, surrounded by animals of all shapes and sizes.
The steppe grasses of this ecoregion grow alongside wild fruit and nut trees, while at the highest altitudes of the Turkistan, Alai, and Chatkal mountains, juniper forests dominate. A separate population of wild pistachio and almond trees can be found in south Tajikistan.
Wild stands of almond, maple, walnut, and apple trees, as well as three species of juniper, can be found in this ecoregion. The most common mammals of this ecoregion’s fruit and nut forests include wood mice, red foxes, least weasels, lynx, and wild pigs. This is also one of the few places in the world where brown bears can be found feeding on pistachios. Birds include northern goshawks, spotted flycatchers, and nightingales. Species more common to the juniper forests include Tolai hares, Turkistan red pikas, wolves, and Siberian roe deer. At higher altitudes, you can also spot cuckoos, spotted nutcrackers, white-winged grosbeaks, and black redstarts.
Cause for Concern
Agriculture, grazing, forestry, extractive industries, building construction, and recreation have caused the greatest impact on these low mountain ecosystems. Many foothill ecosystems have shown a marked decline in biodiversity.
For more information on this ecoregion, go to the World Wildlife Fund Scientific Report.All text by World Wildlife Fund © 2001