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Regions at risk: comparisons of threatened environments

Table of contents



Edited by
Jeanne X. Kasperson, Roger E. Kasperson, and B. L. Turner II

United Nations University Press

The United Nations University, 1995

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations University.

This book has been published in cooperation with the Commission on Critical Environmental Situations and Regions, the International Geographical Union.

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Note from the editors


1. Critical environmental regions: concepts, distinctions, and issues

Previous studies
Geocentric and anthropocentric approaches
Key concepts and issues
Regions and the regional approach
Regional dynamics and trajectories of change
Case-study selection and protocol

2. Amazonia

Study sites
Historical perspectives on environmental and social change
Human driving forces
Environmental impacts
Societal responses
The trajectory of change and regional dynamics

3. The Aral Sea basin

Environmental changes
Human driving forces
Social and economic changes
Societal recognition of the Aral Sea problem
Possible solutions and rescue scenarios
The Aral Sea basin trajectory
Saving the Aral Sea

4. The Nepal middle mountains

Geographical delimitation and time-frame
Environmental changes and emerging indicators of unsustainability
Human driving forces of environmental change
Socio-economic vulnerabilities and impacts
Environmental change, emerging awareness, and responses
Is the situation critical?

5. The Ukambani region of Kenya

The Ukambani study area
The history of settlement, land use, and environment (1890-1990)
The trajectory of change in Ukambani

6. The Llano Estacado of the American southern high plains

The Llano Estacado
Changes in the pre-european ecosystem
Development of the southern high plains: a social and agricultural history
Human driving forces: commodity specialization in cotton
The vulnerability of the cotton economy of the Llano Estacado
Social responses to environmental change and economic vulnerability
The future of the Southern High Plains

7. The basin of Mexico

The socio-economic background
Recent environmental in the basin
The driving forces of environmental change
The vulnerability of the basin
The response to the environmental problem
Review and conclusions

8. The North Sea

The North Sea basin
Resources and depletion
Warning signs
Trajectory and regional dynamics

9. The Ordos Plateau of China

The temporal and spatial background of environmental changes
Environmental changes and their socio-economic effects
Proximate human causes
Underlying human driving forces
Human awareness and societal responses
The trajectory of environmental changes
References (in Chinese)

10. The eastern Sundaland region of south-east Asia

Sundaland as a "critical environmental zone"
Forestry in Borneo since the 1960s
Land-use change and agricultural settlement
Impending crisis in forestry and the timber industries
The state, the timber industry, and shifting cultivators
Lessons for the future from peninsular Malaysia
Questions of criticality in Borneo
A changing resource frontier

11. Comparisons and conclusions

Regional trajectories of change
Human driving forces
Societal response
Generic patterns and issues
The larger issues

12. Contributors

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