Landscapes and natural resources
The mighty land areas of
Asia broadly comprise four types of landscape: 1) the northern and western
lowlands, which are drained into the Arctic Ocean, the Aral Sea, and the Caspian
Sea; 2) the great mountain ranges and highlands that include a belt from Turkey
across the Armenian Massif, the Pamir and the Himalayas to the Bering Strait in
the north and to Indonesia in the south; 3) the southern plateau countries
comprising the Arabian Peninsula, the Deccan Plateau and the plateaus from
Yunnan to the Malacca Peninsula; 4) the great river valleys around the
Euphrates-Tigris, Indus, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Menam, Mekong, Chang
Jiang and Huang He.
Offers an alphabetical list of independent nations and dependent territories
in Asia. Also includes area and population for each Asian country.
The northern lowlands flow through of the rivers Ob, Yenisei and Lena, whose
mouths lie in the Arctic. Often ice formations impede the outflow and cause
major floods. In addition, the Arctic tundra is characterized by permafrost. The
mighty forest landscapes of the temperate zone are replaced to the SW by the
steppes of Turan and around the Aral Sea. The grass steppe is now cultivated,
while the shrub steppes for cultivation require irrigation. The water for
Central Asia's cotton cultivation has been taken from the rivers Syr Darja, Amu
Darja and Ili, which has contributed to the Aral Sea in particular, but also
Lake Balkhashi, being reduced.
The mountain ranges. To the west, two mountain ranges emerge to the west, the
Pontic Mountains and the Taurus, which enclose the Anatolian Plateau. To the
east is the northernmost Elburz-Hindu Kush. The Zagro Chain and the Sulaiman,
which delimit the Iranian plateau. The chains run together in the mighty
mountain knot Pamir. Similarly, the plateaus north of the Himalayas are bounded
on the north by The Tian Shan and Altai chains. Kunlun Shan divides the
highlands of Eastern Turkestan (just over 1000 masl) and Tibet (around 4500 masl).
All the mentioned plateaus are dry, because oceanic winds are cut off by as high
marginal chains as the Himalayas, which at long distances are 6000-7000 m high,
and which in Mount Everest have the highest point on the planet, 8848 m. In the
whole area, only the valleys are cultivable, and only when there is water. The
mountain areas include several large folding chain systems in addition to those
mentioned. From the Altai thus the Sajian and Jablon Mountains, Stanovoj and
Verkhojanske Mountains all the way up to the Chukchi Peninsula and a mighty arch
from Kamchatka over the Kuril Islands, Japan and the Ryukyu Islands to Taiwan.
China's historical isolationism finds part of its explanation in the country's
almost total isolation from the interior of Asia by mountain ranges and deserts.
Among the plateaus to the south, the Arabian Peninsula is an uncultivated
desert apart from its high west side, the "Happy Arabia". Deccan's Highlands
similarly has a high fault edge to the west, the Western Ghats, but has a
well-utilized agricultural potential comprising e.g. fertile black soil areas,
regur. The plateaus of Yunnan and Indochina are heavily traversed by river
valleys and smaller mountain ranges; they have limited resources for both
cultivation and mining.
The large river valleys, with fertile soil and access to water, have good
cultivation opportunities, which are utilized with more and more thorough
control of the rivers' water.
It is mainly cold, i.e. no or too short growing season, and/or drought
restricting cultivation. The large areas of North Asia that lie like tundra are
too cold, as are the high mountain areas, which can be mountain pastures,
mountain fields or snow cover. Large stretches in West, South and Central Asia
are too dry.
The temperate areas that have reasonable rainfall have often developed brown
and pods soils. Although most suitable soils are included for cultivation,
yields can still be increased by better soil treatment and by using better
adapted varieties. This applies to Western Siberia and to large areas of
northern China and Manchuria.
All in all, Asia still has great potential for increasing agricultural
production, both in terms of agriculture and cattle breeding. In the case of
cattle breeding, better veterinary care and rational grazing alone can greatly
Industrial resources. The world's largest fossil energy resources of oil,
natural gas and coal are found in Asia. Only the large natural gas deposits can
cover Asia's energy supplies well into the future, even though Russia is
processing a fairly large export via pipelines. Hydropower is also plentiful,
although the large Siberian rivers, for example, are difficult to utilize
efficiently. In several places, the energy supply is supplemented by nuclear
In general, Asia has a good raw material base for industry, but exploitation
is still hampered by the location and distribution of raw materials by country.
Social resources include labor, its efficiency, determined of health and
education level as well as the organization and structure of individual
societies; in this area there is great variation in Asia. In several remote
mountain areas, for example in Bhutan, there is still a purely feudal
organization, in China and North Korea totalitarian communist systems.
Elsewhere, dictatorships exist (e.g. in Myanmar (Burma)), while states such as
India and Japan are democracies.
The Japanese business organization is invoking interest as an example of how
modern industry can be developed on the basis of an organizational form that is
very different from the Western European-American. In Japan, the business
community is partly built around large groups that intervene deeply in the
employees' relationships - also of a private nature. The interests of the
employees are taken care of in large and small in an almost patriarchal
protective and adult manner; on the other hand, it is most often a lifelong,
loyal affiliation with the group. High work ethic is often cited as part of the
explanation for the so-called Japanese miracle, which, however, perhaps in the
absence of public control, has also led to serious inconveniences in, for
example, ecological conditions, such as in the late 1900's. set out to solve. In
large parts of SE and East Asia these features can be found,
In India, business development has long been hampered by the caste system,
which originally had the character of lowliness, albeit with a background in the
Hindu religion. This raises high barriers to development; the castes, which
still have different ranks, mean less for business choices, but, especially in
the countryside, much for the social structure. Japan and India as examples, of
many possible, show the importance of the community organization in Asia.
Religious relationships are closely intertwined in daily life and influence the
business world, for example through rules on women's opportunities to work
outside the home.
Very different strategies for economic development have been followed and
followed in Asia. Common is that the development almost everywhere aims at
industrialization. In the case of the planned economies, the general development
model has long been based on Lenin's idea that agriculture must partly provide
food for the population and partly provide the savings by means of which
industry is to be built up. In the case of China, the idea took on a slightly
more flexible form, expressed by Mao's principle of "walking on two legs": that
is, to launch a tailored, simultaneous development of both agriculture and
industry. In recent years, following the collapse of the USSR, an opening
towards a market economy has been introduced both there and in China, albeit
still with strong state control. The Chinese economy is experiencing strong
growth. In other states, market economy principles for development have long
been followed; for example, India has pursued an import-substituting industrial
policy. This encouraged domestic production of goods that might otherwise be
imported. To help build it up, the nascent industry was protected from foreign
competition. The policy pursued has proved difficult for the locally produced
goods to achieve a quality on a par with foreign products at the same price.
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the
Philippines, and a few other countries have pursued various types of market
economy policies that have sought to monetize the world market for their own
construction. This has been successful in many places and has been seen as a
model that can be used everywhere. However, there are many indications that the
great success has been achieved on different, specific preconditions. Thus, for
example, Japan had a base in a well-educated but low-paid and disciplined
population, an efficient business structure and a national capital. This pattern
has been partly to be found in the other high-growth countries, and in the early
1990's East and South-East Asia became more and more the world's future economic
||Population in million (2001)
||Bandar Seri Begawan
|Burma, in Myanmar
|United Arab Emirates
|Hong Kong (British Int. 1997)
|Macao (Port. Int. 1999)
|Russia, see under Europe