Explain briefly the salient features of the Russian Emancipation Act.
The Siberian region is usually divided into two parts-the west and east. In western Siberia, only the black soil zone which stretches from the Urals to the river Yenisei is suitable for cultivation, the rest of the region being covered by forests right up to the northern fringes. Unfavourable climatic conditions-lack of moisture, severe winter temperatures and inadequate depth of snow neutralise the natural richness and fertility of the soil. In parts, though, there are rich meadow lands in the valleys and foothills of the Altai. Here the prevalent methods of land utilisation were primitive, similar to the land exhausting method used in the southern black earth region. Only in a small area in the west of Siberia where the three-field rotation was in the earlier stages of being adopted, cattle rearing, dairy farming and wheat cultivation were the main forms of agricultural activity.