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The Caspian Sea has attracted the attention of scientists, environmentalists, legal scholars and policymakers for a variety of reasons: scientists and policymakers are concerned about the sharp increase in the Caspian Sea level (2.5 m in 20 years). The rising waters have inundated coastal areas, including buildings, settlements, transportation infrastructure, and farmlands in each of the five countries that border the sea. The Caspian Sea is also rich in resources such as fisheries and hydrocarbons.
The caviar of the Caspian sturgeon is a highly valued export commodity, but the fishery is at risk from the rising sea level, pollution and oil spills. The oil reserves of the region are second in size only to the Persian Gulf. Only recently the Caspian was shared by two sovereign nations: the Soviet Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the breakup of the USSR in 1991, three additional sovereign riparian States were added to the Caspian coastline: Azerbaijan, Kazakstan and Turkmenistan. I
nternational oil politics have become more complicated and more intense since the breakup, raising such international legal issues as the legal status of the sea (or is it a lake?) and its overland pipelines across different countries to sea ports with access to world markets. Problems in other semi-enclosed bodies of water are also discussed in Scientific, Environmental, and Political Issues in the Circum-Caspian Region, since such seas share similar environmental problems and potential solutions.
- Foreword; N.M. Kikheyev
- Preface; M.H. Glantz, I.S. Zonn
I: Introduction to the Caspian Sea Environment
- The Regionalization of Climate-Related Environmental Problems; M.H. Glantz
- Closed Areas and the Case of the Caspian Sea Basin; G.N. Golubev
- Overview: History and Causes of Caspian Sea Level Change; G.S. Golitsyn
- Assessment of the State of the Caspian Sea; I.S. Zonn
- Environmental Problems of the Caspian Sea Region and the Conflict of National Priorities; T.A. Saiko
- Toward Regional Cooperation in the Caspian: A Legal Perspective; S.V. Vinogradov
II: Sea Level Rise: Impacts and Implications.
- Iranian Research on Caspian Sea Level Rise; J. Shayegan, A. Badakhshan
- Ecological Problems of the Caspian Sea and Perspectives on Possible Solutions; A.Sh. Mekhtiev, A.K. Gul
- Ecological, Social and Economic Problems of the Turkmen Caspian Zone; A.G. Babaev
- The Problem of the Caspian Sea Level Forecast and Its Control for the Purpose of Management Optimization; G.V. Voropayev
- Problems of Ecological Safety of the Astrakhan Region due to the Rise of the Caspian Sea; Y.S. Chuikov
- Biological Aspects of Caspian Sea Level Rise; Z.G. Zalibekov
- Europe's First Desert; T.A. Saiko, I.S. Zonn
- Studies of Aerosols from Kalmykia's Black Lands and their Influence on Environment; I.G. Granberg, et al.
IV: Coping with Environmental Change
- Socio-Ecological Characterization: A Framework for Ecosystem Management Information; J.J. Kineman, B.O. Parks
- An overview of Global Environmental Change Research; J.M.F. Morais
- Development of the Caspian-Aral Seas Program: An ICWC Perspective; V.A. Dukhovny, V.I. Sokolov
- Iranian Perspective on Environmental Problems in the Caspian Sea Region; A. Badakhshan, J. Shayegan
V: Examples and Lessons from Other Regions
- An overview of the Environmental Issues in the Black Sea Region; M. Oztork, et al.
- Environmental Problems of the Baltic Sea Region; S. Preis
- Identifying Sources of Radioactive and heavy Metal Contamination in the Caspian Sea: Future Research Opportunities; P. Szerbin
VI: Regional and International organizations
- The Rising Waters of the Caspian Sea and Possibilities for International Cooperation; I. Turan
- Strategic Planning for the Scientific and Technical Cooperation among hte Littoral States of the Caspian Sea; A. Jahani
- Perspectives for Regional Cooperation on Major Environmental Issues in the Caspian Sea Basin; G. Schneider
- Do International Organizations have a Role in Addressing Caspian Environmental Issues? M. Nakayama
"[...] the contributors and editors should be commended for the high standards of excellence [...] will become basic reference works for future research on the environmental issues of the Aral and the Caspian."
- Central Asian Survey, 19:2 (2000)