Climate change-related land degradation or desertification is another phenomenon affecting all Caspian Sea littoral states. In the normal course of events, a lack of rainfall and extreme summer evaporation result in a high level of aridity in the Caspian Sea region, especially in coastal areas of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. But deserts and desertification are not limited to the eastern part of the Caspian Sea coastal zone. Land degradation hot spots stretch all around the Caspian Sea, caused by differing factors. The areas most prone to degradation are in Kazakhstan, due to degradation of vegetation and soil through oil and gas production. Flooding incidents from 1979 to 1995 and increased salinization led to further adverse consequences. The most important factor leading to degradation in Russian territories surrounding the Caspian Sea — mainly in Chernije Zemli (Black Lands) region in the Kalmykhian Republic — is wind erosion. In the more humid coastal areas of Iran and Azerbaijan, where rainfall is more than 600-1000 mm/year, deforestation and water erosion result in the degradation of vegetation. One of the main environmental problems of flatlands in the south of Turkmenistan remains high salinity of soils (CEP website).
From collection: Caspian Sea - State of Environment 2011