Environment > Current issues:
This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems. The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the entry: Acidification - the lowering of soil and water pH due to acid precipitation and deposition usually through precipitation; this process disrupts ecosystem nutrient flows and may kill freshwater fish and plants dependent on more neutral or alkaline conditions (see acid rain). Acid rain - characterized as containing harmful levels of sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide; acid rain is damaging and potentially deadly to the earth's fragile ecosystems; acidity is measured using the pH scale where 7 is neutral, values greater than 7 are considered alkaline, and values below 5.6 are considered acid precipitation; note - a pH of 2.4 (the acidity of vinegar) has been measured in rainfall in New England. Aerosol - a collection of airborne particles dispersed in a gas, smoke, or fog. Afforestation - converting a bare or agricultural space by planting trees and plants; reforestation involves replanting trees on areas that have been cut or destroyed by fire. Asbestos - a naturally occurring soft fibrous mineral commonly used in fireproofing materials and considered to be highly carcinogenic in particulate form. Biodiversity - also biological diversity; the relative number of species, diverse in form and function, at the genetic, organism, community, and ecosystem level; loss of biodiversity reduces an ecosystem's ability to recover from natural or man-induced disruption. Bio-indicators - a plant or animal species whose presence, abundance, and health reveal the general condition of its habitat. Biomass - the total weight or volume of living matter in a given area or volume. Carbon cycle - the term used to describe the exchange of carbon (in various forms, e.g., as carbon dioxide) between the atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial biosphere, and geological deposits. Catchments - assemblages used to capture and retain rainwater and runoff; an important water management technique in areas with limited freshwater resources, such as Gibraltar. DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) - a colorless, odorless insecticide that has toxic effects on most animals; the use of DDT was banned in the US in 1972. Defoliants - chemicals which cause plants to lose their leaves artificially; often used in agricultural practices for weed control, and may have detrimental impacts on human and ecosystem health. Deforestation - ... Full definition
Environment > International agreements > Party to:
This entry is derived from Geography > Environment > International agreements, which separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name.
Freshwater withdrawal > Domestic/industrial/agricultural > Total:
This entry provides the annual quantity of water in cubic kilometers removed from available sources for use in any purpose. Water drawn-off is not necessarily entirely consumed and some portion may be returned for further use downstream. Domestic sector use refers to water supplied by public distribution systems. Note that some of this total may be used for small industrial and/or limited agricultural purposes. Industrial sector use is the quantity of water used by self-supplied industries not connected to a public distribution system. Agricultural sector use includes water used for irrigation and livestock watering, and does not account for agriculture directly dependent on rainfall. Included are figures for total annual water withdrawal and per capita water withdrawal.
The number of square kilometers of land area that is artificially supplied with water.
Land boundaries > Total:
The total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths for each of the contiguous border countries
Land use > Arable land:
The percentage of used land that is arable. Arable land is land cultivated for crops that are replanted after each harvest like wheat, maize, and rice
Land use > Other:
The percentage share of used land that is not arable or under permanent crops. This includes permanent meadows and pastures, forests and woodlands, built-on areas, roads, barren land, etc.
The name of the CIA World Factbook reference map on which a country may be found. The entry on Geographic coordinates may be helpful in finding some smaller countries.
Maritime claims > Exclusive economic zone:
Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - the LOS Convention (Part V) defines the EEZ as a zone beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea in which a coastal State has: sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natura
Maritime claims > Territorial sea:
territorial sea - the sovereignty of a coastal State extends beyond its land territory and internal waters to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea in the LOS Convention (Part II); this sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as its underlying seabed and subsoil; every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles. A full and definitive definition can be found in the Law of the Sea (LOS) Convention.
A country's mineral, petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance.
deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources
air pollution from industrial and vehicular emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; deforestation; smoke/haze from Indonesian forest fires