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The water resources of the Selenga River/Lake Baikal system are essential to the ecosystems and economic development of the surrounding region. In this large river and lake basin, there are strong contrasts between relatively pristine areas and massive anthropogenic impacts on the environment. The effects of climate change are more pronounced than in most other parts of the earth, and the transition from socialism into a market-oriented economy has led to a boom in mining but also to a partial collapse of environmental monitoring and urban wastewater management systems. Moreover, the expansion of agriculture and mining has triggered considerable land use change, rising water consumption, and the release of contaminants that had previously been unknown to the region. The consequences for the water resources and the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems depending on them have become increasingly visible in recent years. Water and Environment in the Selenga-Baikal Basin, which is based on contributions to the 2014 Bringing Together Selenga-Baikal Research Conference, provides multidisciplinary insight into current water-related challenges and strategies for their solution from the viewpoint of the international scientific community.
Daniel Karthe works as a scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Magdeburg, Germany. He is the speaker of the German Geographical Society working group on hydrology.
Sergey Chalov received his M.Sc. and Ph.D degrees in fluvial processes and hydrology from Lomonosov Moscow State University. His research interests cover a range of water-related topics, including fluvial processes, environmental hydraulics, hydraulic risks, sediment transport, transboundary rivers, and sediment transport.
Nikolay Kasimov is the president of the faculty of geography at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and head of the department of landscape geochemistry and soil geography. He is a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and serves as First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society.
Martin Kappas is professor of physical geography and holds the chair of cartography, geographic information systems, and remote sensing at the Institute of Geography, Göttingen University.