Asia Essay Research Paper AsiaAsia is the — страница 5

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cold Asia from dry Asia is an extensive band of low grasslands called the steppe. Steppe vegetation predominates in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. North of the steppe land is a narrow transition zone of mixed forest. Farther to the north lies the vast expanse of coniferous forest known as taiga in Russia. The taiga is a rich storehouse of commercially valuable needle leaf softwoods, such as spruce, larch, fir, and pine. Even farther north, lichens, mosses, and occasional dwarf willows manage to survive in the cold tundra. Animal Life Arctic animals, although noted for their mobility, are even less diverse than arctic plants. Polar bears, mouse like lemmings, reindeer, and arctic foxes are common animals in the tundra region. The mammals and birds of subarctic

Asiatic Russia are of the cold, hardy type. Examples are the Altai elk, brown bear, wolf, ermine, sable, and the erne (a Siberian eagle similar to the bald eagle). Birds are prominent vertebrates in Asian deserts. Animals peculiar to dry Asia include the kuland (Mongolian wild ass), the Bactrian camel, the saiga (an antelope), the Tibetan antelope, the kiang, the yak, the argali (wild sheep), and the markhor (wild goat). In East Asia are found such indigenous animals as the takin, bharal (wild Himalayan sheep), goral (a rock goat), musk deer, sika, Thor-old’s deer, Pere David’s deer, panda, Asiatic black bear, and high-altitude salamanders. Tigers and elephants are still found in some southern parts of the continent. Mineral Resources Asia’s coal deposits are the largest in

the world. About one-fourth of the world’s total reserves are located in Russia; other coal reserves occur in nearly every province of China, in Indonesia, in India, in Korea, in Kyrgyzstan, and in Uzbekistan. In 1991, China ranked 1st in world coal production and India 5th. Nearly half of the coal extracted in the former USSR, which ranked 3d in world production in 1991, is mined in Russia. Asia also has vast oil deposits, especially in the Persian Gulf area; in the South China and Yellow seas and other parts of the continental shelf off the coasts of East, Southeast, and South Asia; and in Russia, with smaller deposits in Turkmenistan. The former USSR ranked 1st among world crude-oil producers in 1991, Saudi Arabia 2nd, Iran 4th, and China 5th; the United Arab Emirates,

Indonesia, Kuwait, Egypt, Oman, Malaysia, India, Iraq, Syria, and Qatar are also significant producers. Nearly one-third of the world’s natural gas reserves are located in Russia, although marketing difficulties limited production there before the construction of a pipeline in the 1980s that enabled Russia to supply Western Europe as well as to increase domestic supplies. Iron ore is abundant in China, which ranked 2d in world production in 1989, and in India, which ranked 6th. Tin is widely distributed in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia and Indonesia ranking among the top world producers. Asia also has large deposits of bauxite and a variety of other minerals, including major world deposits of chromium, manganese, mercury, selenium, tellurium, tungsten, zinc, graphite,

magnesite, mica, pyrite, and talc. Japan, although it is the industrial giant in Asia, has few of the mineral resources needed for modern industry and must import them. Water Resources Irrigation canals crisscross the Indo-Gangetic Plain, Yangtze Valley, and other alluvial lowlands of monsoon Asia. Irrigation during the dry season of the monsoon makes possible a double and triple cropping of land where year-round temperatures are warm enough and has been a major factor in the ability of Asia’s river valleys to support such large population clusters. Irrigation and the availability of ground water for growing crops in oases are also major factors in the settlement and economic development of most of dry Asia in the southwest. Rivers remain the primary means of transportation for

most Asian countries outside Japan. Road and rail facilities are generally limited, although India’s network is extensive. Only a small part of the continent’s vast hydroelectric power potential has been developed, most of it in such fuel-deficient nations as Japan and Bangladesh or as part of a larger program of river improvements as in the Indus and Mekong river basin projects. Rivers with enormous hydroelectric potential are the Yangtze, Ob, Lena, and Yenisei. Farming Only about 17% of all Asia excluding the former USSR is planted in crops and only 14% of all Asia including the former USSR. India has the most arable land, with 403,629,000 acres, or 50% of its total area, under cultivation. China ranks second, with 255,070,000 acres, or 11% of its total area, under crops;