Natural Resource Conflicts: From Blood Diamonds to Rainforest Destruction. Edited by M. Troy Burnett. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2016. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN 978-1-61069-464-3). E-book available (978-1-61069-465-0), call for pricing.

This two-volume set explores nearly seventy international case studies related to the environmental and political aspects involved in natural resource management. As the title suggests, the focus is on geographic areas where conflict has ensued as a result of the scarcity or abundance of natural resources in the area. Each case study is framed as a question, and includes an overview of the topic, as well as two essays that are often points of debate surrounding the topic. The volumes are divided geographically, and volume 1 covers, international conflicts, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific, while volume 2 covers the Americas and Europe. Additionally, volume 2 contains 120 pages of key concepts that provide descriptions and details which range in length from one paragraph (“Endangered Species Act”) to four pages (“environmental ethics”). The introduction contains a useful table, “Recent Conflicts Fueled by Natural Resources”; although the table is not extensive, it includes the country, duration of the conflict, and the resources at the heart of the conflict. This could be useful for students who want to quickly identify resources and countries that are at the center of these international conflicts.

Comparable works that deal with the environmental and political aspects of natural resource management often deal with a single country or a single natural resource. However, Pichler and Staritz’s Fairness and Justice in Natural Resource Politics (Routledge 2016) also includes case studies and has an international focus. The demand for resource justice is a common theme that runs throughout both Fairness and Justice in Natural Resource Politics and Natural Resource Conflicts, but the latter covers a greater number of conflicts and provides two viewpoints on each topic.

In the preface, the editor states that “the primary purpose of this project is to take to heart the observations of Our Common Future—to provide a reference for students of geography and conflict studies that evaluates and debates the role of natural resources as either sources of dissension and violence or stability and peace” (xxvi). This writer believes that this purpose has been met, and that this set would be useful for students and scholars studying geography, environmental sciences, and conflict studies. This writer highly recommends adding it to academic library collections.—Lisa Presley, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio


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