Kazakh Steppe
Ecoregion territory (in purple)
Ecoregion territory (in purple); WWF ID# PA0810
Ecology
RealmPalearctic
BiomeTemperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
Geography
Area804,450 km2 (310,600 sq mi)
CountriesKazakhstan and Russia
Coordinates52°53′46″N 71°39′00″E / 52.896°N 71.650°E / 52.896; 71.650

The Kazakh Steppe (Kazakh: Қазақ даласы, romanized: Qazaq dalasy, also Uly dala, Ұлы дала "Great Steppe"), also called the Great Dala, is a vast region of open grassland in Central Asia, covering areas in northern Kazakhstan and adjacent areas of Russia. It lies east of the Pontic–Caspian steppe and west of the Emin Valley steppe, with which it forms the central and western part of the Eurasian steppe. The Kazakh Steppe is an ecoregion of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome in the Palearctic realm. Before the mid-19th century, it was called the Kirghiz steppe, 'Kirghiz' being an old Russian word for the Kazakhs.

Setting

The steppe extends more than 2,200 km (1,400 mi) from the east of the Caspian Depression and north of the Aral Sea, all the way to the Altai Mountains. It is the largest dry steppe region on earth, covering approximately 804,450 km2 (310,600 sq mi).[1] The Kazakh Steppe lies at the southern end of the Ural Mountains, the traditional dividing line between Europe and Asia. Much of the steppe is considered to be semi-desert, grading into desert as one goes further south.[2] The Turan Lowland lies in the southwestern part of the steppe, but elevation increases as one travels east or to the northern parts of the steppe, with a few exceptions.[citation needed]

The Pontic Steppe lies to the west and northwest. To the north and northeast of the Kazakh Steppe lies the Kazakh forest steppe, an ecoregion of pine groves interspersed with grasslands that forms a transition between the Kazakh steppe and the forests of Siberia. To the south lies the Kazakh semi-desert and the Kazakh upland ecoregions. The Kokshetau Massif in north-central Kazakhstan harbors an enclave of the Kazakh upland, distinct from the Kazakh steppe which surrounds it at lower elevations.[citation needed]

Climate

The region has a semi-arid, continental climate. Most of the area falls under the cool semi-arid (BSk) classification under the Köppen climate classification system, although the moister north is classed as humid continental (Dfa/Dfb). The steppe receives between 200 and 400 millimetres (8 and 16 in) of precipitation in an average year, with more falling in the northern areas. Average maximum temperatures range from 20 to 26 °C (68.0 to 78.8 °F) in July, and from −12 to −18 °C (10.4 to −0.4 °F) in January. Very high winds sweep across the plains at times.[citation needed]

Climate data for Astana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 4
(39)
5
(41)
22
(72)
30
(86)
36
(97)
40
(104)
42
(108)
39
(102)
36
(97)
27
(81)
19
(66)
5
(41)
42
(108)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −12
(10)
−11
(12)
−4
(25)
9
(48)
19
(66)
25
(77)
27
(81)
24
(75)
18
(64)
8
(46)
−2
(28)
−9
(16)
7
(45)
Daily mean °C (°F) −15
(5)
−15
(5)
−9
(16)
5
(41)
13
(55)
19
(66)
21
(70)
18
(64)
12
(54)
4
(39)
−6
(21)
−12
(10)
3
(37)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −21
(−6)
−21
(−6)
−15
(5)
−2
(28)
5
(41)
11
(52)
13
(55)
11
(52)
5
(41)
−1
(30)
−11
(12)
−18
(0)
−3
(27)
Record low °C (°F) −52
(−62)
−49
(−56)
−38
(−36)
−28
(−18)
−11
(12)
−2
(28)
2
(36)
−2
(28)
−8
(18)
−26
(−15)
−39
(−38)
−44
(−47)
−52
(−62)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 22
(0.9)
14
(0.6)
19
(0.7)
21
(0.8)
31
(1.2)
40
(1.6)
50
(2.0)
37
(1.5)
26
(1.0)
27
(1.1)
20
(0.8)
22
(0.9)
327
(12.9)
[citation needed]

Flora

Because of low rainfall, the steppe has few trees, and consists of mostly grasslands and large, sandy areas. Typical vegetation includes feathergrass (Stipa), wormwood (Artemisia (genus)), and fescue (Festuca).[3]

Fauna

Animals that can be found in the steppes of Kazakhstan include the Saiga antelope,[4] Siberian roe deer,[5][6] wolves, foxes, badgers,[7] Mongolian gerbils,[8] and steppe tortoises.[9][10]

People

Kazakh nomads

The western part of the Kazakh Steppe is very sparsely populated, with between two and three people per 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi). As one heads east across the plains, the population density increases to between four and seven people per 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi). Kazakh people make up the majority of the people living in the area. Russia leases approximately 7,360 km2 (2,840 sq mi) in the southern region of the steppe for the world's oldest space launch facility, Baikonur Cosmodrome.[11]

In popular culture

The movie Tulpan was shot and set in the Kazakh Steppe.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Kazakh steppe". GlobalSpecies.org. Archived from the original on October 19, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "Kazakh steppe, Asia - Kazakhstan and Russia". World Wildlife Federation. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "About the Kazakh Steppe". kazakhsteppe.com. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "Saiga antelope". Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  5. ^ Bogoljoebov, A.S. (2001). Sibirskaja kosoelja - Capreolus pygargus Geraadpleegd op 21 december 2015.
  6. ^ Savtsjenko, A.P. & Savtsjenko, I.A. (2012). Kosoelja sibirskaja. Geraadpleegd op 21 december 2015
  7. ^ Do Linh San, E.; Begg, C.; Begg, K.; Abramov, A.V. (2016). "Mellivora capensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41629A45210107. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41629A45210107.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  8. ^ Mongolian gerbil
  9. ^ "Testudo horsfieldii". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 2022-03-25.
  10. ^ Lee, Davis S. (2010). "Testudostan: Our Post-Cold War Global Exploitation of a Noble Tortoise" (PDF). Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc.: 45(1):1-9. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  11. ^ "Baikonur Cosmodrome 45.9 N 63.3 E". FAS.org. Federation of American Scientists (FAS). Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2014.