Regions at risk: exploring environmental criticality

J. X. Kasperson, R. E. Kasperson, Billie Turner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

30 Scopus citations


The Project on Critical Environmental Zones (Pro-CEZ), an international and interdisciplinary effort, set out to tackle the problem of definition. Teams looked at nine regions where large-scale, human-induced environmental changes purportedly threatened the sustainability of the existing system. In the process, they explored the idea that the attributes and indicators of critical environmental zones are so compelling that it might be possible to formulate a definition of the term criticality that would allow different assessments to reach comparable conclusions. Their subsequent three-part classification integrates biophysical and socioeconomic considerations and provides a more sophisticated and realistic way of addressing the question of what constitutes a genuinely critical environment. Unfortunately, it also makes systematic analysis more difficult because it enlarges the range of issues to be considered and expands the volume of data and modes of analysis necessary. Even after enlisting experts and using common (i.e., comparable) research protocols, ProCEZ researchers encountered this problem. Unable, in the end, to develop standard quantiative data for all the relevant issues and indicators for every region studied, they relied heavily on the judgments of team experts for assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironment
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Environmental Chemistry


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