FACTORS OF TERRITORIAL DIFFERENTIATION OF THE AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES AND PROSPECTS FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE STEPPES IN THE BELGOROD REGION
UDK 910.3; 911.2; 911.6
Tishkov А.А., Nekrich А.S. FACTORS OF TERRITORIAL DIFFERENTIATION OF THE AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES AND PROSPECTS FOR THE CONSERVATION OF THE STEPPES IN THE BELGOROD REGION // Arid ecosystems. 2022. V.28. № 2 (91). P. 13-26. | PDF
Reduction of the carbon footprint at the district level derived from agricultural production can be achieved by the rational planning of territories including agricultural landscapes along with the optimal spatial distribution of areas reducing agrogenic carbon emissions. The matter of transition to «carbon-neutral agriculture» and the optimization of agricultural landscapes structure are of primary importance for regions such as the Belgorod oblast, providing 4.8% of the total value of Russian agricultural products and where virgin areas of the steppes allowing effectively regulate the carbon balance are located.
Basing on statistical data, on cartographic and literary materials, on reports are published by specialized departments and ministries, as well as on materials of long-term field and experimental studies conducted by the authors in the Belgorod region at the intra-district level during 1990 to 2020, tendencies of the agricultural land dynamics within the structure of modern agricultural landscapes were explored and compared to dynamics of areas of virgin steppe lands and areas of the nature reserve fund lands.
It has been found that agricultural and resource areas uniting municipal areas characterizing by similar trends of agricultural land dynamics in the structure of agricultural landscapes, by similar specialization of agriculture, by identical changes of the natural, social, economic and environmental situation are occur: (1) agricultural and resource area of industrial concentration near large cities in the western and central parts of the region; (2) agricultural and resource area of the conflicts between agriculture and mining in the northern part of the region; (3) agricultural and resource area of the southeastern agricultural and industrial part of the region. Within the boundaries of these agricultural and resource areas, key factors that determine the potential for agricultural production and trends in the dynamics of agricultural landscape areas have been identified. The size of specially protected natural areas (SPNA) allowing reduce agrogenic carbon emissions within these agricultural and resource areas has been estimated. The importance of such territories for supporting of «carbon neutrality» during the modern economic development is outlined. It has been determined that from west to northeast and southeast within the agricultural and resource areas the large-scale decrease of agricultural landscapes is not viewing, however their agricultural potential is declining. This feature can be explained by acceleration of negative natural and ecological factors, weak implementation of adaptive land use practice in process of agricultural production, disproportion investments to industrial agriculture and also reduction of rural population. It is shown that the scale of conflicts in agricultural and industrial environmental management is increasing in the east and north-east directions.
In order to determine the links arising between key factors (affecting the use of landscapes for agrarian purposes) and the change of agricultural lands within the agricultural and resource areas methods of mathematical statistics were applied. The prospects of territorial protection of virgin steppes areas in the perspective of solving the problems of «carbon neutral agriculture» in the conditions observable dynamics of agricultural lands are considered. The identified features of the transformation of the agricultural landscapes of the Belgorod region will allow in the future to optimize its structure in the context of achievement the goals of «carbon-neutral agriculture» and to increase the effectiveness of the Regional Protected Areas Network.
Keywords: Belgorod region, agricultural landscape, territorial differentiation of land use, virgin and specially protected natural areas, «carbon neutrality».
Financing. The study was carried out within the framework of the state assignment of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences AAAAA 19-119021990093-8 (FMGE-2019-0007).