Natural Resource Conflicts
From Blood Diamonds to Rainforest Destruction
by M. Troy Burnett, Editor
September 2016, 911pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-464-3
$208, £155, 174€, A298
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-465-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Demand for natural resources have fueled civil wars in the Sudan, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and Haiti.

Natural resource and environmental conflicts have long been issues confronting human societies. This case-based examination of a wide range of natural resource disputes exposes readers to many contemporary examples that offer reasons for both hope and concern.

The Rwandan genocide, the Sudanese civil war, and perpetual instability in the Middle East and Africa: each of these crises have arguably been instigated and maintained by natural resource disputes. China has undertaken a Herculean task to plant hundreds of millions of trees along its margins in an effort to save Beijing from crippling dust storms and halt the expansion of the Gobi desert. Will it work, and is it worth it? These and many other cases of conflict stemming from natural resource or environmental concerns are explained and debated in this up-to-date examination of contemporary and ongoing topics.

The book examines conflicts over precious resources and minerals, such as diamonds, oil, water, and fisheries, as well as the pursuit of lesser-known minerals like Coltan and other “rare earth elements”—important resources in our technological age—in remote locations such as Greenland and the Congo. Each topic contains an overview and two position essays from different authors, thereby providing the reader with highly informative and balanced perspectives. Reference entries accompany each topic as well, helping students to better understand each issue. As the world hurtles into the 21st century, these natural resource issues are becoming increasingly important, with all global citizens having a significant stake in how these conflicts arise and play out.


  • Provides a "case-based" approach to natural resource conflicts with examples of different scales, including timely cases drawn from the developed and developing world
  • Enables readers to reach a broader understanding of the scope of the issues through the variety of topics and cases—one of which is climate change in many of the emerging conflicts
  • Presents balanced information regarding each case argued from multiple viewpoints and perspectives, allowing the reader to gain a more balanced and comprehensive sense of the topics
M. Troy Burnett, PhD, is associate professor of geography and earth sciences at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. He is the author of numerous Enduring Questions essays for ABC-CLIO, including "Severe Environmental Damage Makes Economic Gains Illusory," "China's Demographic Disgrace," "Immigration and Multiculturalism—The Future of Europe in the Context of a Declining Birthrate," and "Cutting the Gordian Knot—Independence for Kashmir," all in ABC-CLIO's World Geography: Understanding a Changing World database.


2017 Award Winner in the "Current Events" Category —Best Book Awards, American Book Fest, November 9, 2017

Outstanding Academic Title, 2017—Choice, January 1, 2018


"This is a good introduction to many of the resource conflicts that are likely to increase."—Booklist, January 5, 2017

"The reference set is intended for college geography or conflict study students and its overall value is found in its brief, basic examination of several types of natural resource and environmental conflicts from around the world accompanied by a debate of a central question."—ARBA, March 13, 2017

"This two-volume reference work edited by Burnett could easily serve as supplemental reading for a variety of classes in environmental or conservation science, human geography, or anthropology. . . . A carefully thought-out work, filled with critical issues critically addressed by a strong team of experts. Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school, community college, and undergraduate through graduate students."—Choice, May 1, 2017
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