The subject of this article originates from non-canonical sources. To find out about what is considered "canon" see LOTR:Canon.
The soils of Isra were formed over the ages by materials eroded from the mountains to the south. Before the weather patterns changed, the area was more lush than at present. A deep, yellowish topsoil developed. Isra may be divided into two areas: the river valleys of the Maudar and the Sîrsis. Of the two, the Sîrsis Valley is more fertile, because of the more frequent rainfall and deeper topsoil.
Only a narrow strip of land on each bank of the Sîresha and the Maudar may be used for farming. Away from the rivers, it is impossible to grow crops without extensive irrigation. In some areas, canals have been constructed to bring water to the fields from the rivers. In others, wells provide moisture. Isra and Chennacatt are both too far in land to receive any coastal rainfall from the Bay of Ormal. They are also in the “rain shadow” of the Tûr Betark and do not receive precipitation from the south. The rivers and streams that flow through Isra derive their waters from melting glaciers, snowfields, and runoff from rainfall in the mountains.
Isra is bounded by the Bru Isra to the west, the Tûr Betark to the south, the Sára Bask to the east, and the Sîresha to the north. The farther west and north one travels, the more inhospitable the land. East along the Sára Bask, the rainfall averages 15 inches a year, while a wet year will see less than 5 inches of rain in the Bru Isra.
Flora and fauna Edit
Isra is a semi-and, although fertile, area that exhibits an interesting selection of plant and animal life. Isran climatic patterns and the lack of abundant rainfall have produced a district with a small diversity of vegetation. Certain species of wild cereal grasses grow in nearly pure stands. These grasses allowed the early settlers to develop horticulture and urban civilization. Low average precipitation combined with less runoff from the Tûr Betark inhibits extensive forests like that of the Sára Bask, but provides enough moisture for spring growth of edible grasses and legumes. The short shuftas stalk, stands of cereal grains such as wheat, millet, and the nutty fragaub, as well as the mezikast and karnet legumes grow throughout the Isran landscape. Golden isaha flowers, dark green tulgan shrubs, and small stunted trees such as the olive and the fig are also common in certain locales. Along the rivers, larger trees and thicker vegetation will be encountered with a wider variety of species.
- Boswillia - A resin related to Mur, boswillia is used to make incense and perfumes. The incense is used throughout Sirayn in religious ceremonies and is also exported to foreign countries for use in spiritual rites and preparing the dead for burial.
- Mur - Mur is an aromatic gum resin collected from shrubs indigenous to Isra. Related to boswillia and myrrh, it is relatively rare and hard to find. When the resin is aged, it may be made into a lifekeeping herbal infusion. Only a few herbalists living in Sirayn know the process of making the infusion.
- Kaktu - The white flower of this plant is very poisonous. If the petals are ingested, a person loses the feeling in his or her extremities. If the flower is boiled and the liquid concentrated, it will create a poison that impairs a person’s dexterity. The effect is permanent until an antidote is administered. The resulting palsy will interfere with any type of movement.
- Klagul - Klagul temporarily imparts the Elven ability of infravision to humans. The bud of the plant must be harvested before the flower starts to bloom. It is then dried very slowly to keep its properties. Before use, it must be brewed with clear water and the infusion drunk within 5 minutes. However, if the bud is eaten with the brew, blindness may occur. The effects normally last 5-6 hours. If the concoction is taken more than twice a week, it is slightly addictive. If addiction occurs, the unfortunate individual must drink the brew every day or loose their vision for 1-2 weeks.
The fauna, like the flora, also exhibit a low diversity of species. The preponderance of sheep, goats, gazelles, and onagers served as a catalyst in prompting the Apysaic settlers of the Second Age to domesticate stock. However, herd aqimals are not the only species thriving in Isra. Large predators, such as lions, wild dogs, and vultures, can spoil a nice pleasure trip. Most normally feed on herd animals and small game; in sparse years, they will hunt domestic animals and humans. Herd animals that still run wild include antelope and gazelle in the grasslands and water buffalo near the rivers.
- Latava - A large cat, the latava is the primary predator of Isra. It hunts primarily in the day and is very territorial. The latava is feared by most travellers because of its size and ferocity. The beasts form groups called chaudu and hunt within a specific area. Typically, one male will attract a number of females to form a harem. Younger males will attach themselves to the chaud until they come of age and form their own or take over an older latava’s harem.
- Lisica - The small, large-eared fox, although a native to Isra, is related to similar foxes throughout the Harad. It is a highly prized catch. The auburn coat of the fox is used for trim on southern clothing. The predator is a nocturnal hunter that stalks rodents and large insects. At times, it will also dig for reptiles. The animal sleeps during the day and hunts during the dark, cool nights.