Xinjiang-Kazakhstan border - Ili valley
(N 43.83108°;  E 80.52845°)

The Ili river is crossing the Kazakhstan-Xinjiang frontier and the valley offers a spectacular border effect on landscapes.

On the Eastern side ("Autonomous" region of Xinjiang-China), the landscape has became mainly agricultural. Over the last years, there has been an enormous increase of ploughed fields to grow crops (mainly wheat). I visited this place in 2013 and pristine steppes were still occurring there. So was the Uyghur pastoral culture associated to steppes and so were the rich biological diversity and soil fertility of these old-growth grasslands.

Today, steppes are still visible on the Western side (Kazakhstan), but for how long ? Steppe is definitely a world in peril. At the global scale, the plough has been making them disappear inexorably for more than two centuries. This is not only the devastation of an ecosystem, it is also the disappearance of unique pastoral cultures.