The Republic of Tajikistan is located in the south-east of Central Asia. Its geographical coordinates are 36 ° 40 '- 41 ° 05' N and 67 ° 31 '- 75 ° 14' E. The area of the republic is 143.1 thousand km. The territory of the republic stretches from west to east for 700 km, and from north to south for 350 km.
The length of state borders is 3000 km. The administrative structure includes: Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, Khatlon Oblast, Sughd Oblast, Regions of Republican Subordination and Dushanbe.
Tajikistan is a mountainous country. About 93% of its territory is occupied by mountains, while about half of the territory lies at an altitude of over 3000 meters. Absolute altitude ranges from 300 to 7495 meters above sea level. Geographically, in the west wedged desert and semi-desert areas of the Turan lowland, which gradually move to the foothills, and in the east the territory of the republic adjoins the giant mountain ranges and plateaus of Central Asia - Tibet and Tien Shan. Such a geographical location causes a great variety of natural and climatic conditions.
Glaciers are a huge wealth of Tajikistan, because they are not only water storage facilities, but also regulators of river flow and climate. Glaciers and eternal snows of Tajikistan are the main source of the rivers of the Aral Sea basin. Glaciers occupy an area of 8,470,000 km², which is 6% of the country's territory. The main masses of ice are concentrated in the mountains of the Western Pamir.
The largest glacier in Tajikistan is the Fedchenko glacier. Its length exceeds 70 km, the average width is 2 km, the maximum ice thickness is 1 km, and the volume of the glacier with tributaries is 144 km³. It begins at an altitude of 6200 m above sea level. According to modern estimates, there are more than 8 thousand glaciers on the territory of Tajikistan, 7 of them have a length of more than 20 km.
The rivers of Tajikistan are the main source of replenishment of the Aral Sea, they bring life to the downstream states and their use is the basis of cotton growing and hydropower.
There are several large catchment areas in the republic: the Syr Darya River (Northern Tajikistan), the Zeravshan River (Central Tajikistan), the Pyanj River (South-West Tajikistan and the Pamir), the drainage basin of brackish lakes of the Eastern Pamirs. The largest rivers of Tajikistan are: Panj, Vakhsh, Syrdarya, Zeravshan, Kofarnihon, Bartang. Most of the rivers of Tajikistan are mountainous, some of them originate at an altitude of over 3000 m.
Hot and cold mineral waters have become wide spread in Tajikistan. The most famous of them are Garmchashma, Lyangar, Anzob, Khoja-Obigarm, Sanghok, Yavroz, Shaambary, Tashbulak. Many of the mineral sources are used for medicinal, drinking and other purposes. Tajikistan is rich in lakes. There are more than 1300 lakes here, with 80% of them located at an altitude of over 3000 meters and has an area of less than 1 km². The total area of the country's largest lakes exceeds 680 km ².
The largest lake in Tajikistan is Karakul which is situated in a depression from the fall of the meteorite at 3,914 m above sea level. sea, located on the East Pamirs, the lake area - 380 km ², the lake water is salty. The deepest lake in Tajikistan is Sarez (3239 m above sea level), the depth exceeds 490 meters, the lake is fresh water, and the area is 86.5 km 2. The Sarez Lake is located in the Western Pamir, in the steep canyon of the Bartang River, formed as a result of a massive blockage that followed the earthquake in 1911. The volume of water in the lake's bowl exceeds 17 km.
Other important lakes are Iskanderkul, Zorkul, Yashilkul. Sometimes there are temporary lakes formed by glaciers or mountain landslides. In addition to natural lakes, there are artificial reservoirs on the territory of the republic: Kayrakkum, Nurek, Farhad and others.
The forest resources
Forests are state property and assigned to the forests of the first group in Tajikistan, where are aimed all forestry activities at preserving and improving their condition.
Forests of Tajikistan occupy an area of only 410 thousand hectares. The bases of forests are juniper (juniper) woodlands, common at altitudes of 1500-3200 m above sea level in the Gissar, Zeravshan and Turkestan ranges. junipers are good regulators of surface run off, preventing erosion processes in mountains and valleys, and also storage tanks of CO2. Age juniper can reach 500 years or more.
Pistachios, well adapted to the hot and dry climate, occupy an area of 78 thousand hectares. The main massifs of pistachios are concentrated in Southern Tajikistan, at altitudes from 600 to 1400 m above sea level.
Nut forests are 8 thousand hectares and particularly demanding for soil and climatic conditions and they are distributed mainly in Central Tajikistan at altitudes of 1000-2000 m above sea level.
The deferent deciduous species, a significant part of the forest covered area are occupied by maple forests of fragmentary poplar, willow, birch, sea buckthorn and various bushes - 44 thousand hectares.
Flora and fauna
Tajikistan is rich by Flora and diverse in composition. It has more than 5 thousand species of higher plants, more than 3 thousand species of lower plants and includes many endemic and rare species.
Tajikistan is characterized by high-altitude zonation of vegetation cover and geographical isolation of a number of plant communities. Vegetation is represented by the following main types of communities: broad-leaved forests, small-leaved forests, juniper forests, xerophilous light forests, thickets of shrubs, semi-arid deserts, semi-shrub desert, cushions, cochlea, semi-savannas, steppes and meadows.
The fauna of the Republic is also rich and diverse. There are 84 species and subspecies of mammals, 385 species and subspecies of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 52 species of fish, 2 species of amphibians, more than 10 thousand species of invertebrates inhabiting Tajikistan. A great variety of fauna species is largely due to the geographical location of Tajikistan within the continent of Eurasia and the variety of habitats, from the hot lowland deserts of Southern Tajikistan to the cold high mountains of the Western and Eastern Pamir.