Astutely underlying the vastness of “Central Asia as understood in the present volume,” the author first stresses the variety of its climatic conditions (from continental temperate to subtropical), of its topography (a combination of vast plains and majestic mountain ranges), and of its hydrography (Central Asia consisting of a series of closed un-drained basins).  He then sheds light on the modification of its complex soil layer by centuries of farming, and its erosion in pastoral regions.  Chapters on vegetation and animal life precede developments on the human imprint on natural landscapes.  Data on the population of this wide region are then scattered throughout paragraphs on South Asia and West Asia.  If one can regret that the too wide and poorly defined notion of Central Asia adopted by the editors of the volume has brought the author to reel off extremely general, sometimes tautological considerations (e.g., “the landscape varies according to altitude [515]”), one can only be pleased about the complete, if synthetic overview offered by the author of the interaction of natural conditions and human activity in the very vast space comprised between the Persian Gulf and south-western Siberia (with a specific interest in mountain areas).

The Redaction
CER: I-2.4-148