Central Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions on the planet earth to global climate change, depending on very fragile natural resources. The Soviet legacy has left the five countries (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) with a highly integrated system but they are facing great challenges with tensions that hinder regional coordination of food and water resources. With increasing climate variability and warming trend in the region, food and water security issues become even more crucial now and, if not addressed properly, could affect the regional stability. The long-term drivers of these two most critical elements, food and water, are climate change; the immediate and probably more drastic factors affecting the food and water security are land uses driven by institutional change and economic incentives. As a feedback, changes in land use and land cover have directly implications on water uses, food production, and lifestyles of the rural community in the region. Regional and international efforts have been made to holistically understand the cause, extent, rate and societal implications of land use changes in the region. Much of these have been understood, or under investigation by various projects, but solutions or research effort to develop solutions, to these urgent regional issues are lacking. This article, serves as an introduction to the special issue, provides a brief overview of the challenges facing the Central Asian countries and various international efforts in place that resulted in the publications of this special issue.
Central Asiaclimate changeland use and land cover changewater and food security