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Aralkum - A Man-made Desert: The Desiccated Floor of the Aral Sea (Central Asia)

Series: Ecological Studies Volume: 218

Edited By: Siegmar-W Breckle, Walter Wucherer, Liliya A Dimeyeva and Nathalia P Ogar

486 pages, 88 colour & 105 b/w illustrations, tables


Hardback | Sep 2011 | #192576 | ISBN-13: 9783642211164
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £155.50 $200/€171 approx

About this book

Having been the fourth largest lake on the globe roughly 50 years ago, today the Aral Sea no longer exists. Human activities caused its desiccation and the formation of a huge new desert, the Aralkum, which can be regarded as one of the greatest ecological catastrophes and--at the same time--the largest primary succession experiment of mankind.

This volume brings together the results of international and interdisciplinary long-term studies on the new desert ecosystem and is divided into four main sections. The first section provides an overview of the physical characteristics of the area and covers geological, pedological, geomorphological and climatological aspects and their dynamics, especially dust-storm dynamics. The second focuses on the biotic aspects and highlights the spatial and temporal patterns of the flora and fauna. In the third section studies and projects aiming to combat desertification by phytomelioration and to develop strategies for the conservation of biodiversity are presented. This book is rounded off with a section providing a synthesis and conclusions.


1 General Introduction - The Aralkum, a man-made Desert on the Desiccated Sea Floor of the Aral Sea (Central Asia) - Aims of the Book

Part A: Abiotic Conditions and Dynamics

2 Dynamics of the Aral Sea Area in Geological and Historical Times
3 Geography, Geomorphological and Lithological Characteristics of the Aralkum Desert
4 Climatic Conditions at the Aralkum
5 Duststorms and Aerosol Long-Distance Transport
6 Landscape Dynamics in the Southern Aralkum desert - Using MODIS Time Series for Land Cover Change Analysis
7 Dynamics of Dust Transfer from the Desiccated Aral Sea Bottom Analyzed by Remote Sensing

Part B: Biotic Aspects and Ecosystems Dynamics

8 Flora of the Aralkum
9 Vegetation of the Aralkum
10 Primary Succession in the Aralkum
11 Fauna of the Aralkum
12 Halophytes and Salt Desertification in the Aralkum Area
13 Spatial Distribution of Plant Functional Types along Stress Gradients - a Simulation Study Orientated towards the Plant Succession on the Desiccating Aral Sea Floor

Part C: Means of Present and Future Development

14 Nature Conservation in the Aral Sea Region (Barsa Kelmes as an Example)
15 Phytomelioration in the Northern Aralkum
16 Phytomelioration in the Southern Aralkum
17 Phytomelioration of Solonchaks in the Uzbek Pre-Aral Region
under Recent Climate Change
18 The Aralkum Situation under Climate Change related to its Broader Regional Context

Part D: Conclusions

19 Final Conclusions and Comments: The Aralkum, a man-made desert on the Desiccated Sea Floor of the Aral Sea (Central Asia)

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