Agriculture is major sector in the economy of Central Asia. The sustainable use of agricultural land is therefore essential to economic growth, human well-being, social equity, and ecosystem services. However, salinization, erosion, and desertification cause severe land degradation which, in turn, degrade human health and ecosystem services. Here, we review the impact of agricultural land use in the five countries of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, during 2008–2013 in 362 articles. We use the Land Use Functions framework to analyze the type and relative shares of environmental, economic, and social topics related to agricultural land use. Our major findings are (1) research on land use in Central Asia received high levels of international attention and the trend in the number of publications exceeded the global average. (2) The impacts of land use on abiotic environmental resources were the most explored. (3) Little research is available about how agricultural land use affects biotic resources. (4) Relationships between land degradation, e.g., salinization and dust storms, and human health were the least explored. (5) The literature is dominated by indirect methods of data analysis, such as remote sensing and mathematical modeling, and in situ data collection makes up only a small proportion.
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