MASSIMO BREGA / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MASSIMO BREGA / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Salt-tolerant plants. Saltwort plants (Salicornia sp.) growing in a soil with a high salt content. These plants are growing in the dried up seabed of the Aral Sea. This inland sea, once one of the largest in the world, is in the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In the 1930s the Soviet Union dug canals that diverted the sea's major rivers to irrigate cotton fields. From the 1960s, the sea started to shrink, and by 2004 some 75 percent of the sea's area had been lost. This environmental disaster has led to changes in the climate and the seasons, and the replacement of the old flora and fauna with desert plants and animals.
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