Bosnia and Herzegovina has a largely mountainous terrain. The Dinaric Alps dominate the western border with Croatia, and numerous ranges, including the Kozara, Vlašic, Plješevica, Grmeč, Cincar, and Raduša, run through the country, generally in a northwest-southeast direction. The highest peak, reaching 7,828 feet (2,386 metres), is Maglić, near the border with Montenegro. In the south and southwest is the Karst, a region of arid limestone plateaus that contain caves, potholes, and underground drainage. The uplands there are often bare and denuded (the result of deforestation and thin soils), but, between the ridges, depressions known as poljes are covered with alluvial soil that is suitable for agriculture. Elevations of more than 6,000 feet (1,800 metres) are common, and the plateaus descend abruptly toward the Adriatic Sea. The coastline, limited to a length of 12 miles (20 km) along the Adriatic Sea, is bounded on both sides by Croatia and contains no natural harbours. In central Bosnia the rocks and soils are less vulnerable to erosion, and the terrain there is characterized by rugged but green and often forested plateaus. In the north, narrow lowlands extend along the Sava River and its tributaries.

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