The Asir Mountains (Arabic: جِبَال ٱلْعَسِيْر, jibāl al-ʿasyr; Arabic pronunciation: [ʕsiːr] ('Difficult')) is a mountainous region in southwestern Saudi Arabia running parallel to the Red Sea. It comprises areas in the 'Asir Region of Saudi Arabia, however it also generally includes areas near the Yemeni border. The mountains cover approximately 100,000 square kilometres (40,000 sq mi) and consists of mountains, plains, and valleys of the Arabian highlands. Sensu lato, they are part of the Sarawat Mountains, defining the latter as the mountain range which runs parallel to the Tihamah throughout the western portion of the Arabian Peninsula, particularly the western parts of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
View from the summit of Jabal Sawdah ("Mount Sawdah")
|Native name||جِبَال ٱلْعَسِيْر (in Arabic)|
Climate and agricultureEdit
The region has the highest average rainfall of Saudi Arabia due to largely seasonal rain. Average rainfall can range from 600 millimetres (24 in) to over 1,000 millimetres (39 in) per year, in wet regions. The eastern plains and plateaus receive much lower amounts, from 500 millimetres (20 in) to below 100 millimetres (3.9 in) per year.
The region's crops, most of which are cultivated on steeply terraced mountainsides, include wheat, coffee, cotton, indigo, ginger, vegetables, and palms. The region also supports cattle, sheep, goats, and camels.
The region's difficult terrain has helped preserve the region's unique biodiversity. Several new Myxomycetes fungi species have been discovered in the region, as have a variety of previously undiscovered plants. Asir is also thought to be one of the last natural habitats of the Arabian leopard.
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