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SpringerBriefs on
Pioneers in Science and Practice (PSP)

Edited by
Hans Günter Brauch
Free University of Berlin and AFES-PRESS

Arthur H. Westing (1928-2020)

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Arthur H. Westing [USA]: Arthur H. Westing: Pioneer on the Environmental Impact of War. SpringerBriefs on Pioneers in Science and Practice No. 1 – presented by Hans Günter Brauch (Heidelberg – Dordrecht – London – New York: Springer-Verlag, 2013).

ISBN (Print): ISBN 978-3-642-31321-9
ISBN (Online/eBook): 978-3-642-31322-6
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-

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Since the 1960s the environment has become an issue of increasing public concern in North America and elsewhere. Triggered by the Second Indochina War (Vietnam Conflict) of 1961-1975, and further encouraged by the International Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972, the environmental impact of war emerged and grew as a topic of research in the natural and the social sciences. And in the late 1980s this led additionally to a focus and debate on environmental security. Arthur Westing, a forest ecologist, was a major pioneer contributing and framing both of those debates conceptually, theoretically, and empirically, starting with Harvest of Death: Chemical Warfare in Vietnam and Cambodia (1972) (co-authored with wildlife biologist E.W. Pfeiffer and others). As a Senior Researcher at the Stockholm and Oslo International Peace Research Institutes (SIPRI and PRIO), and as a Professor of Ecology at Windham and Hampshire Colleges, Westing authored and edited books on Ecological Consequences of the Second Indochina War (1976), Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Environment (1977), Warfare in a Fragile World: Military Impact on the Human Environment (1980), Herbicides in War: the Long-term Ecological and Human Consequences (1984), Environmental Warfare: a Technical, Legal and Policy Appraisal (1984), Explosive Remnants of War: Mitigating the Environmental Effects (1985), Global Resources and International Conflict: Environmental Factors in Strategic Policy and Action (1986), Cultural Norms, War and the Environment (1988), Comprehensive Security for the Baltic: an Environmental Approach (1989), and Environmental Hazards of War: Releasing Dangerous Forces in an Industrialized World (1990) — as well as authoring numerous UN reports, book chapters, and journal articles. This volume combines six of his pioneering contributions on the environmental consequences of warfare in Viet Nam and in Kuwait, on the environmental impact of nuclear war, and on legal constraints and military guidelines for protecting the environment in wartime.

Contents: Preface – Hans Günter Brauch – Part I: War and the Environment: Chap. 1: The Environmental Impact of War: A Personal Retrospective; Chap. 2: What next? A Search for Security in War and Peace; Chap. 3: The Author's Relevant Papers: A Selective Listing – Part II: Benchmark Papers by the Author: A Selection: Chap. 4: The Second Indochina War of 1961–1975: Its Environmental Impact; Chap. 5: The Gulf War of 1991: Its Environmental Impact; Chap. 6: Environmental War: Hostile Manipulations of the Environment; Chap. 7: Nuclear War: Its Environmental Impact; Chap. 8: Protecting the Environment in War: Legal Constraints; Chap. 9: Protecting the Environment in War: Military Guidelines.


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Arthur H. Westing: Texts on Environmental and Comprehensive Security. Springer Briefs on Pioneers in Science and Practice No. 13 – Subseries Texts and Protocols No. 7 (Heidelberg – New York – Dordrecht – London: Springer-Verlag, 2013).

ISBN (Print): 978-3-319-00686-4
ISBN (Online/eBook): 978-3-319-00687-1
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-00687-1

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  • Provides an entree to the field of national (military) security and its evolution to comprehensive human security
  • Supplies the necessary information to understand the concept of environmental security
  • Presents critical background for the study of sustainable development

This work presents the evolution of the traditional concept of "national security" as military security to additionally embrace "environmental security" and then necessarily also "social (societal) security", thence to be termed "comprehensive human security". It accomplishes this primarily by presenting 11 of the author's own benchmark papers published between 1983 and 2010 (additionally providing bibliographic citations to a further 36 of the author's related publications during that period). The work stresses the importance of transfrontier (regional) cooperation, and also recognizes global overpopulation as a key impediment to achieving comprehensive human security.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Comprehensive Human Security - Environmental Security - National Security - Social Security - Societal Security - Sustainable Development

Related subjects » Applied & Technical Physics - Political Science - Sustainable Development

Table of contents:
National and International Security: An Evolving Concept.- The Author's Relevant Papers: A Selective Listing.- From Environmental Security to Comprehensive Security: A Necessary.- Regional Security: An Ecological Necessity.- Regional Security: Maritime Issues.- Regional Security: Transfrontier Cooperation.- Regional Security: The Case of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).- The Question of Globalization.- Environmental Refugees: A Stark Reminder.- Population: Perhaps the Basic Issue.- Glossary.


Westing's undergraduate training was in botany (Columbia, AB, 1950). After two years in the United States Marine Corps (serving as an artillery officer in the Korean War) he became a forest ecologist (Yale, MF, 1954; PhD, 1959). He has been a Research Forester with the United States Forest Service, has taught forestry, ecology, and conservation at various colleges and universities, was Dean of Natural Science at Hampshire College, has twice been a Research Fellow at Harvard (Bullard, Guggenheim), and has been a Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) as well as the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). For eight years he directed the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) project on 'Peace, Security, & the Environment', a position which took him to many countries throughout the world; and is the author of numerous articles and several books in that subject area. Westing has been on the faculty of the European Peace University (EPU), a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas, Vice-President of the International Society of Naturalists (INSONA), and also a member of or advisor to a number of other international environmental nongovernmental organizations and scholarly journals. He has served on the Board of the Korean DMZ Forum. He was awarded an honorary doctorate (DSc, Windham, 1973) and medals from the New York Academy of Sciences (1983) and Government of Bulgaria (1984); he was named a 'Peace Messenger' (together with four international colleagues) by the United Nations Secretary-General (1987), and he is one of the 500 individuals worldwide to have been appointed to the United Nations 'Global 500 Roll of Honour' (1990). He has been a Consultant in Environmental Security since 1990, variously to the World Bank, UNEP, UNIDIR, and UNESCO, to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to the International Organization for Migration (IMO), the Government of Eritrea, and to several other national and international agencies.


Books by Arthur H. Westing as SIPRI, UNEP and PRIO Monographs

Neilands, J.B., Orians, G.H., Pfeifer, E.W., Venema Alje, Westing, Arthur H.:
Harvest of Death:Chemical Warfare in Vietnam and Cambodia.
(New York: Free Press, 304 pp, 1972)

Ecological consequences of the Second Indochina War
(Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, x+119 pp + 8 plates, 1976).
ISBN 91-22000-62-3

Weapons of mass destruction and the environment
(London: Taylor & Francis, xi+95 pp., 1977).
ISBN 0-85066-132-3

Warfare in a fragile world: military impact on the human environment
(London: Taylor & Francis, xiv+249 pp., 1980).
ISBN 0-85066-187-0;
Available for free download here:
(Editor & co-author):
Herbicides in war: the long-term ecological and human consequences
(London: Taylor & Francis, xiv+210 pp., 1984).
ISBN 0-85066-265-6

(Editor & co-author):
Environmental warfare: a technical, legal and policy appraisal
(London: Taylor & Francis, xiii+107 pp., 1984)
ISBN 0-85066-278
Japanese translation ISBN 4-89339-049-X

(Editor & co-author):
Explosive remnants of war: mitigating the environmental effects
(London: Taylor & Francis, xvi+141 pp. 1985).
ISBN 0-85066-303-2
(Editor & co-author):
Global resources and international conflict:
environmental factors in strategic policy and action

(Oxford: Oxford University Press, xii+280 pp., 1986).
ISBN 0-19-829104-3
(Editor & co-author):
Cultural norms, war and the environment
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, xiv+177 pp. 1988).
ISBN 0-19-829125-6
Russian translation ISBN 5-03-001904-
(Editor & co-author):
Comprehensive security for the Baltic: an environmental approach
(London: Sage Publications, xii+148 pp., 1989).
ISBN 0-8039-8218-6.
(Editor & co-author):
Environmental hazards of war: releasing dangerous forces in an industrialized world
(London: Sage Publications, xvi+96 pp. 1990).
ISBN 0-8039-8386-7
Editor & co-author):
Disarmament, environment, and development and their relevance to
the least developed countries

(Geneva: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Research Paper No. 10 [UNIDIR/91/83], xiii+105 pp. Oct. 1991).
ISBN 92-9045-058-4
(Co-editor with N. Gebremedhin & co-author):
National environmental management plan for Eritrea
(Asmara: Government of Eritrea, xii+236 pp., Jan 1996).
(Editor & co-author):
Transfrontier reserves for peace and nature: a contribution to human security
(Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme, xi+127 pp., 1993)
ISBN 92-807-1409-0
The national action programme for Eritrea to combat desertification
and mitigate the effects of drought

(Asmara: Eritrean Ministry of Agriculture, x+197 pp.. Jan 2002).
Books on the work by Arthur H. Westing:
Jurgen Brauer, 2009:
War and nature: the environmental consequences of war in a globalized world
(Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press).

978-0-7591-1206-3 • Hardback October 2009
978-0-7591-1207-0 • Paperback August 2011
978-0-7591-1929-1 • eBook October 2009
David Zierler, 2011:
The invention of ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the scientists
who changed the way we think about the environment.

(Athens: University of Georgia Press).
978-0-8203-3826-2 5/1/2011 • Hardback 2011
978-0-8203-3827-9 • Paperback 2011
978-0-8203-3978-8 • eBook October 2011

Comprehensive bibliography of all of all scientific writings by Arthur H. Westing (1955-2012)

Book Reviews

Arthur H. Westing: Pioneer on the Environmental Impact of War.