This broadly equates to the Tien Shan Mountains (from Chinese ‘Divine or Celestial’ Mountains) of Central Asia, but includes a number of related uplands such as the Kirgizian Range, the Kungei Ala-Tau, the Transalai (Zaalai) Range, the Fergana Range, the Susamyr Tau, the Talassian Ala-Tauthe Kirgizian Mountains, the Talassian Altai (Mountains), Transilian (Zailiisky) Altai, Dzungarian Altai, the Tarbagatai Mountains, the Badghys, the Karabil Uplands, the Paropamisus Range, the Safod Koh Range, western Hindu Kush, the Koh-i-Baba Range and the Pamirs.

Dzungarian Saline Sandy Deserts

The most widespread vegetation of these sandy often-saline soils is characterized by Haloxylon ammodendron and H. persicum although the latter reaches its eastern limit in Dzungaria. Other typical species include Anabasis salsa, Ephedra przewalskii, Nanophyton erinaceum, Salsola arbuscula and the endemic Iljinia regelii (Chenopodiaceae). In the lowest part (Ebi Nor Basin) there are extensive solonchak (saline soils) and here Artemisia borotalensis and Ephedra przewalskii dominate, but further east on the Tertiary Plateaux there are many Mongolian elements. In the saline depressions tamarisks and the Mongolian endemic Brachanthemum mongalicum (Asteraceae) are common together with Caragana leucophloea and Zygophyllum xanthoxylon, while in the more sandy areas species such as Atraphaxis compacta, Calligonum mongolicum and Hedysarum mongolicum predominate. Finally, in northern areas there are extensive areas characterized by Artemisia species such as A. gracilescens, A. schischkinii and A. terrae-albae var. massagetovii. Many of the endemic or near endemic species of this desert are associated with solonchak soils. Among these are the shrub Anabasis jaxartica (Chenopodiaceae). 


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