Environment

Pamir Mountains, Asia

The Pamirs of Central Asia include some of the world's tallest mountain peaks, many carrying great cultural significance.

5. Description

The Pamir Mountains or the Pamirs are based in Central Asia, which is at the junction of the Himalayas with the Karakoram, Tian Shan, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush Ranges. These are among the world’s highest mountain ranges, and many of these lie in and around the Gorno-Badakhshan province of the Tajikistan. The political boundaries of Pamirs are in the north, the Tian Shan are along the Alay Valley of Kyrgyzstan, in the south are the Hindu Kush Mountains, which is along the Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor, to the east is the China’s Kongur Tagh. The Pamirs are also divided into Western and Eastern Pamir, and houses small narrow valleys, green villages, and high, steep, and rocky mountain regions.

4. Historical Role

Many different tribal groups controlled the Central Asia for 300 years as many invasions took place in the region of Tajikistan. Until the Arab invasions, the area was under the control of the Persian Empire since 500 BCE. The armies of Alexander the Great defeated the Persian armies and took hold of the region, and he married the local Pamiri girl. Many invasions were followed after this by the White Huns, Arabs, and the popular Great Game was played between the Soviet invaders and Britishers to take the hold of Pamir Mountains. There is a fortress built in the 3rd Century B.C., which is situated on the high ridge and 2,000-year-old Buddhist caves are carved there dated back to the Bronze Age. The mineral Lapis Lazuli, which is found in the Ancient Egyptian tombs, was said to be coming from the Pamir Mountains too. Many explorers also came into the ranges for exploration namely Marco Polo, Bento de Goes, Lieutenant John Wood, and, lastly, in the year 1928, it was mapped by a German-Soviet expedition which was under the lead of Willi Rickmer Rickmers.

3. Modern Significance

In the modern times, tourism is the fastest-growing sector in the Pamir Mountain Ranges as it is one of the leading economic sectors published by the New York Times. The Murghab Ecotourism Association provides tourism-related information about the Eastern Pamir Region. Moreover, the Pamir Highway is the world’s second highest international road, which runs from Dushanbe located in Tajikistan to the Osh in Kyrgyzstan, and it is the only main supply route for the region. The Great Silk Road also crosses a number of mountain ranges in Pamirs.

2. Habitat and Biodiversity

One can see the mountain goat, sheep, blue sheep, and urial in this region. Other animals found here are Ibexes, markhors, brown bears, wolves, and snow leopards. The birds in the mountain ranges are Lammergeiers, which is a bearded vulture, while Himalayan Griffons, partridges, snow cocks, migratory waterfowl, and pheasants are also found here.

1. Environmental Threats and Territorial Disputes

With the break-up of the Soviet Union, the region faced a crisis of food insecurity, and this has also put up a negative impact on the environment as well. The famous Pamir trees are being cut for supporting the livelihoods of the people, and with the clearing of vegetation there is a loss of soil as the areas are exposed to sun, rain, and wind. Moreover, with the release of carbon from burning of the trees as fuel, all the more harm is being caused to the global environment.

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