Biodiversity Of The Aral Sea And Its Importance To The Possible Ways Of Rehabilitating And Conserving Its Remnant Water Bodies

  • Nick Aladin
  • Philip Micklin
  • Igor Plotnikov
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)

The Aral Sea, despite being the 4th largest lake in the world up to 1960, has now split into six separate water bodies. This break-up and desiccation resulted overwhelmingly from upstream irrigation withdrawals from the two main influent rivers, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya. The negative effects on both the lake's ecosystem due to declining water level and increasing salinity, as well as the profound socioeconomic and human impacts to the riparian populations are well documented. This paper focuses on the conservation and rehabilitation efforts of the remnant water bodies with a focus on four key areas: the Northern (Small) Aral and its ecosystem; the Southern (Large) Aral and its ecosystem; the delta and deltaic water bodies of the Syr Darya; and the delta and deltaic water bodies of the Amu Darya. It is encouraging to note the reversal of degradation in the Northern Aral after the creation of a dike at Berg's Strait in 1992. The dike washed out in 1999 but has been replaced with a new structurally sound dike. The water level in the Northern Aral has increased several meters and salinity is returning to levels that can sustain the pre-1960 ecosystem. However, much less success has been seen regarding the Southern Aral, which continues its retreat and hypersalinization. There have been recent efforts also in the


Aral Sea deltaic water bodies lake basin management rehabilitation saline lakes salinity osmoregulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Aladin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Philip Micklin
    • 2
  • Igor Plotnikov
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoological Institute of RASSt. PetersburgRussian Federation
  2. 2.Western Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  3. 3.Nick Aladin, Laboratory of Brackish Water HydrobiologyZoological Institute of RASSt. PetersburgRussian Federation.

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