The role of Haloxylon species for combating desertification in Central Asia

Nicolai Orlovsky, Elliott Birnbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Haloxylon species (family Chenopodiaceae) inhabit arid environments on the continents of Africa and Asia. H. aphyllum and H, persicum are dominant components of the vegetation of the sandy and claydeserts across Central Asia, from western China and Mongolia to the CaspianSea. They cover a total area of 1 million km2across the Turanian deserts as wellas appearing in the hot deserts of the Middle East. In the desert areas of CentralAsia, the forests of both species play an enormous role in combating landdegradation. Haloxylon forest contributes to desertification control in severalways, by helping to fix shifting sands, increasing biological productivity of aridareas, restoring degraded pasture and forest, and serving as a source of goodfirewood. Herbaceous species flourish under closed Haloxylon canopies; henceHaloxylon forests produce substantial amounts of edible biomass appropriatefor the grazing of sheep and camels throughout the year. This work attempts tocharacterise the technologies of pasture reclamation in piedmont deserts, andthe improvement of rangelands in sandy, clay and gypsum deserts, and to showthe ecological role of Haloxylon species in Central Asian deserts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Biosystems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Central asia
  • Desertification control
  • Haloxylon
  • Pasture reclamation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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