Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, Tajikistan is high and mountainous; more than half of the
surface is more than 3,000 m above sea level. Northern and
central Tajikistan are dominated by outcrops from the Tian
Shan mountain range. In the southeast, Pamir's mountain
system with the highest peaks Ismoili Somoni (former name:
Pik Kommunizma), 7,495 m above sea level, and Pik Lenina,
7,134 m above sea level.
Valleys occupy less than 10% of the country's surface but
are of great economic importance, e.g. Syr-Darja's fertile
valley in the north. The whole country lies in a seismically
active belt with severe earthquakes as a result. Lakes are
mostly found in the Pamir area, eg. the salty Karakul, whose
surface is 3,960 m above sea level. Lake Sarez was created
by an earthquake in 1911. A dense river network exists; the
largest rivers are Syr-Darja in the north and Amu-Darja
along the border with Afghanistan.
Tajikistan has a pronounced continental climate. In the
valleys it is subtropical with hot and dry summer. July has
the average temperature of 27-30 ～ C, January −1 to 2 ～ C
and the annual rainfall is 150-250 mm. In the mountain
areas, the average temperature for January is −20 ～ C, the
precipitation is below 100 mm and falls in summer. However,
humid air can be pushed up from the valleys and give 800-1
500 mm of precipitation, mostly as snow.
Plant-and animal life
Most of the country is covered by dryland vegetation with
grass and shrubs; only 4% of the area is wooded. The lowland
is mainly cultivated, but with interspersed patches of
desert and semi-desert vegetation. At the middle altitudes
of the mountains (1,800-2,800 m above sea level) there are
open forests of meadows. walnut, Turkestan maple (Aʹcer
turkestaʹnicum), pistachio almond and juda tree.
At higher altitudes there are alpine meadows or mostly
different types of steppes.
Approximately 80 mammal species, 375 bird species and 40
reptile species are known from Tajikistan. In lower areas
there are many species of rodents and reptiles, further
among others. Houbara (Chlamydo'tis undula'ta),
golden jackal and require roe (Gaze'lla subgutturo'sa).
Brown bear, wolverine, wolf, lo and leopard are found in the
mountain forests. Above the tree line are species such as
argalifee, alpine goat, screwhorn goat, snow leopard, snow
hen and steppe hen (Syrrhaʹptes paradox).
In 2011 there were two national parks, Pamirski and
Shirkent, as well as a number of major nature and wildlife