- Area > Comparative: The area of various small countries expressed in comparison to various areas within the United States of America.
- Area > Comparative to US places: This entry provides an area comparison based on total area equivalents. Most entities are compared with the entire US or one of the 50 states based on area measurements (1990 revised) provided by the US Bureau of the Census. The smaller entities are compared with Washington, DC (178 sq km, 69 sq mi) or The Mall in Washington, DC (0.59 sq km, 0.23 sq mi, 146 acres).
- Area > Land: Total land area in square kilometres
- Area > Land > Per capita: Total land area in square kilometres Per capita figures expressed per 1,000 population.
- Area > Note: This entry includes three subfields. Total area is the sum of all land and water areas delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines. Land area is the aggregate of all surfaces delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines, excluding inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers). Water area is the sum of the surfaces of all inland water bodies, such as lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, as delimited by international boundaries and/or coastlines.
- Area > Total: Total area in square kilometers
- Area > Total > Per capita: Total area in square kilometers Per capita figures expressed per 1,000 population.
- Area > Water: Total water area in square kilometers
- Area > Water > Per capita: Total water area in square kilometers Per capita figures expressed per 1 million population.
- Climate: A brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year.
- Coastline: The total length of the boundary between the land area (including islands) and the sea.
- Elevation extremes > Highest point: Highest point above sea level
- Elevation extremes > Lowest point: This entry is derived from Geography > Elevation extremes, which includes both the highest point and the lowest point.
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 - ...
- Geographic coordinates: This entry includes rounded latitude and longitude figures for the purpose of finding the approximate geographic center of an entity and is based on the Gazetteer of Conventional Names, Third Edition, August 1988, US Board on Geographic Names and on other sources.
- Note: This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere.
- 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.
- Land use > Permanent crops: The percentage share of used land on which permanent crops are grown. This is land cultivated for crops that are not replanted after each harvest like citrus, coffee, and rubber. It includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, but excludes land under trees grown for wood or timber.
- Location: The country's regional location, neighboring countries, and adjacent bodies of water.
- Map references: 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.
- Marine Coastline: Length of each country's coastline in kilometers.
Maritime claims > Continental shelf:
This entry is derived from Geography > Maritime claims, which includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions:
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 UNCLOS (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; the normal baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the mean low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale charts officially recognized by the coastal state; where the coasts of two states are opposite or adjacent to each other, neither state is entitled to extend its territorial sea beyond the median line, every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points on the baseline from which the territorial seas of both states are measured; the UNCLOS describes specific rules for archipelagic states.
contiguous zone - according to the UNCLOS (Article 33), this is a zone contiguous to a coastal state's territorial sea, over which it may exercise the control necessary to: prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration, or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea; punish infringement of the above laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea; the contiguous zone may not extend beyond 24 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured (e.g., the US has claimed a 12-nautical mile contiguous zone in addition to its 12-nautical mile territorial sea); where the coasts of two states are opposite or adjacent to each other, neither state is entitled to extend its contiguous zone beyond the median line, every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points on the baseline from which the contiguous zone of both states are measured.
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - the UNCLOS (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 natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other ...
- Maritime claims > Exclusive fishing zone: Exclusive fishing zone - while this term is not used in the LOS Convention, some States (e.g. the United Kingdom) have chosen not to claim an EEZ, but rather to claim jurisdiction over the living resources off their coast; in such cases, the term exclusive fishing zone is often used.
- 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.
- Natural hazards: Potential natural disasters.
- Natural resources: A country's mineral, petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance.
- Population density: People per square kilometre, in 1999. At this time the world average was 14.42.
- Terrain: A brief description of the topography