Two distinct floral regions meet in Syria, that of the Mediterranean and that of the west Asian steppe-land.
The insect fauna is very similar to that of Russia; but a few genera, as the Tentyria, do not penetrate into the steppe region of West Siberia, while the tropical Colasposoma, Popilia and Languria are found only in south-eastern Transbaikalia, or are confined to the southern Amur.
Both in the steppe and in the desert, small ephemeral species occur on the bare ground away from the large plants and especially in the wadis.
Limit of the ante-steppe is represented by a line drawn from the Pruth through Zhitomir, Kursk, Tambov and Stavropol-on-Volga to the sources of the Ural river.
European plains - the tundras, including the Arctic islands, the forest region, especially the coniferous part of it, and the ante-steppe and steppes of the black earth region.
In the ante-steppe the forest species proper, such as Pteromys volans and Tamias striatus, disappear, but common squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), weasel and bear are still met with in the forests.
The destruction of the forests and the advance of wheat into the prairies are rapidly thinning the steppe fauna.
The steppe region, whose flora begins to appear east of the western ridge, is distinguished by the variety of its species, the dry and thorny character of its shrubs, and great poverty in trees.
But this poor average is largely accounted for by the inclusion of the almost uninhabited northern steppe-land; and those parts of Syria, which are settled, show a much higher rate.
In the steppe-land and in the southern trans-Jordanic districts are numbers of true Arabs, mostly belonging to the great Anazeh family, which has been coming northwards from Nejd in detachments since the 13th century.
The plateau, known as the Ogaden plateau, everywhere presents the same monotonous aspect of a boundless steppe clothed with a scanty vegetation of scrubby plants and herbaceous growths.
Steppe and desert formations are of the open type.
Urals, as well as to some of the steppe governments.
Beketov subdivides it into two portions-the forest region proper and the " Ante-Steppe " (predstepie).
Innumerable clusters of wild cherries (Prunus Chamaecerasus), wild apricots (Amygdalus nana), the Siberian pea-tree (Caragana frutescens), and other deep-rooted shrubs grow at the bottoms of the depressions and on the slopes of the ravines, imparting to the steppe that charm which manifests itself in the popular poetry.
The avifauna, of course, becomes poorer; nevertheless, the woods of the steppe, and still more the forests of the ante-steppe, give refuge to many 1 Bibliography of Flora: Beketov, Appendix to Russian translation of Griesebach and Reclus's Geogr.
It is only in the steppe governments that the situation is more hopeful.
Byzantine territory, threatened Constantinople with a fleet of small craft, obtained as consort for one of their princes, Vladimir I, (q.v.), a sister of the Byzantine emperor on condition of the prince becoming a Christian, adopted Christianity for themselves and their subjects, learned to hold in check the nomadic hordes of the steppe, and formed matrimonial alliances with the reigning families of Poland, Hungary, Norway and France.
As late as 1571 Moscow was pillaged by a Tatar horde; but there was no longer any question of permanent political subjection to the Asiatics, and the Russian frontier was being gradually pushed forward at the expense of the nomads of the steppe by the constant advance of the agricultural population in quest of virgin soil.
For this decision there were good reasons, for those turbulent sons of the steppe paid no taxes and were much given to brigandage, and their raiding propensities occasionally created international difficulties with the khan of the Crimea and the sultan of Turkey.
The reason that the source of the noise is such an enigma is that no one ever traced the sound when they heard it.
Above sea-level, forming an intermediate steppe between the highest regions and the lowest, east of Lop Nor.
On the 5th of October, while on his way to Nikolayev, he died in the open steppe, 40 m.
To the Caspian, until in the Mugan steppe along that sea it measures 100 m.
The slopes of the Armenian highlands are clothed with fine forests, and the vine is grown at their base, while on the wide-stretching steppes the Turko-Tatars pasture cattle, horses and sheep. The lower part of the Kura valley assumes the character of a dry steppe, the rainfall not reaching 54 in.
Annually at Baku, and it is still less in the Mugan steppe, though quite abundant in the adjacent region of Lenkoran.
The vegetation of the steppe is on the whole scanty.
The Mugan steppe is, however, in spite of its dryness, a more fertile region in virtue of the irrigation practised; but the Kura has excavated its bed too deeply to admit of that being done along its course.
In 1865 the rinderpest, or steppe murrain, originating amongst the vast herds of the Russian steppes, had spread westward over Europe, until it was brought to London by foreign cattle.
Since, however, the steppe edge on the east is somewhat indefinite, some early Moslem and other geographers have included all the Hamad in Syria, making of the latter a blunt-headed triangle with a base some 700 m.
(3) A succession of oases lying east of the eastern mountain system on the edge of the steppe, and fed by short local streams. Of these the most important are, from north to south, (a) the Saltpan of Jebeil, fed by the North al-Dahab; (b) the oases of Kinnesrin and Aleppo, fed by the North Kuwaik; and (c) that of Sham or Damascus, fed by streams from Hermon, of which the Barada (Abana) and the Awaj (Pharpar) are the chief.
From this region started an important trade route eastward by the Thyssagetae among the southern Urals, the Iyrcae on the Tobol and Irtysh to the Kirgiz steppe, where dwelt other Scyths, regarded as colonists of those in Europe: then by the Argippaei in the Altai and the Issedones in the Tarym basin, to the one-eyed Arimaspi on the borders of China, who stole their gold from the watchful griffins, and who marched with goat-footed men and Hyperboreans reaching to the sea.
Again the closest analogy is the state of the Mongols in the 13th century, but too much weight must not be put on this, as the natural conditions of steppe-ranging nomads dictated the greater part of them.
This necessitated their constantly moving in search of fresh pasture, spending the spring and autumn upon the open steppe, the winter and summer by the rivers for the sake of moisture and shelter.
The account of the cult of Ares, for whom no Scythian name is given, appears to be an addition, and the mention of such masses of faggots suggests the wooded district of the agricultural Scythians, not the treeless steppe of the Royal tribe.
Geographically, though not administratively, the steppe provinces of Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk belong to Siberia.
At the present day steamers ply from Tyumen, at the foot of the Urals, to Semipalatinsk on the border of the Kirghiz steppe and to Tomsk in the very heart of West Siberia.
Although very heavy falls of snow take place in the alpine tracts - especially about Lake Baikal - on the other side, in the steppe regions of the Altai and Transbaikalia and in the neighbourhood of Krasnoyarsk, the amount of snow is so small that travellers use wheeled vehicles, and cattle are able to find food in the steppe.
In the hill tracts and the marshy depression of the Ob they are unbroken, except by the bald summits of the loftier mountains (goltsy); they have the aspect of agreeable bosquets in the Baraba steppe, and they are thinly scattered through south-eastern Transbaikalia, where the dryness of the Gobi steppe makes its influence appreciably felt.
The flora of Minusinsk - the Italy of Siberia - is well known; the prairies on the Ishim and of the Baraba steppe are adorned with the same rich 'vegetation, so graphically described by Middendorff and O.
In south-east Siberia there are fortythree new species belonging to the north Manchurian or Amur fauna; and in south-east Transbaikalia, on the borders of the Gobi steppe, only 103 species were found by G.
East Siberia suffers less from this plague than the marshy Baraba steppe; but on the Amur and the Sungari large gnats are an intolerable plague.