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Environmental conditions do not exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by science, politics, history, public policy, culture, economics, public attitudes, and competing priorities, as well as past human decisions. In the case of Central Asia, such Soviet-era decisions include irrigation systems and physical infrastructure that are now crumbling, mine tailings that leach pollutants into soil and groundwater, and abandoned factories that are physically decrepit and contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Environmental Crises in Central Asia highlights major environmental challenges confronting the region's former Soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. They include threats to the Caspian and Aral seas, the impact of climate change on glaciers, desertification, deforestation, destruction of habitat and biodiversity, radioactive and hazardous wastes, water quality and supply, energy exploration and development, pesticides and food security, and environmental health. The ramifications of these challenges cross national borders and may affect economic, political, and cultural relationships on a vast geographic scale. At the same time, the region's five governments have demonstrated little resolve to address these complex challenges.
Environmental Crises in Central Asia is a valuable multi-disciplinary resource for academics, scholars, and policymakers in environmental sciences, geography, political science, natural resources, mass communications, public health, and economics.
1. Introduction: Examining the Terrain Eric Freedman & Mark Neuzil
Part I: Climate Change
2. Less Water from the Mountains? Consequences of Glacier Changes in Central Asia Wilfried Hagg & Tobias Bolch
Part II: Water
3. Increasing Human Security to Avert Water Wars in the Ferghana Valley Venera Sakeeva
Part III: Energy
4. Energy Exploration and the Caspian Region: Sturgeon, Seals, and Sulfur Tracey German
5. The 'Great Future of the Country'? Dams and Hydroelectricity Discourses in Kyrgyzstan Amanda E. Wooden, Jeanne Feaux de la Croix & David Gullette
Part IV: Public Policy and Mass Media
6. Separating Environmental Myths from Realities in Central Asia Christopher Martius & John P.A. Lamers
7. Tajikistan: An Environmental Scan Shakhodat Saibnazarova
8. Newspaper Coverage of Water and Other Ecological Issues in Kazakhstan during Perestroika and Today Ardak Yesdauletova & Aitmukhanbet Yesdauletov
9. Western News Coverage of Environmental Issues in Post-Soviet Central Asia Eric Freedman, Mark Neuzil, Bruno Takahashi & Christine Carmichael
Part V: Environmental Health
10. Radiation Health Risk Studies Associated with Nuclear Testing In Kazakhstan Bernd Grosche, Steven L. Simon, Kazbek Apsalikov & Ausrele Kesminiene
Part VI: Ecology
11. Kazakhstan's Northern Aral Sea Today: Partial Ecosystem Restoration and Economic Recovery Kristopher D. White
12. Conservation and Multipurpose Management of the Unique Walnut-fruit Forests of Southern Kyrgyzstan Jean-Pierre Sorg & Maik Rehnus
13. Ecologically-based Integrated Pest Management Programs for Food Security Crops in Central Asia Karim Maredia, George Bird, Doug Landis, Frank Zalom, Joy Landis, Megan Kennelly, Mustapha El-Bouhssini, Nurali Saidov & Murat Aitmatov
14. A Treasure in the Desert? Carbon Stock Estimates for Haloxylon aphyllum in the Northeastern Karakum Desert Allan Buras, Niels Thevs, Stefan Zerbe, Walter Wucherer & Martin Wilmking
15. Conclusion: Through the Crystal Ball Mark Neuzil & Eric Freedman
Eric Freedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, is Knight Chair and Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University, USA.
Mark Neuzil is a professor of communication and journalism at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., USA, where he teaches environmental communication, multimedia reporting, communication history, and communication ethics.