Spatio-temporal analysis of agricultural land-use intensity across the Western Siberian grain belt
|ABANDONMENT; COVER CHANGE; CROPLAND EXPANSION; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; FARMLAND; FOOD SECURITY; Intensity index; Land-use change; Post-Soviet; RUSSIA; Sustainable intensification; Sustainable land management
|SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT
The Western Siberian grain belt covers 1 million km(2) in Asiatic Russia and is of global importance for agriculture. Massive land-use changes took place in that region after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the state farm system. Decreasing land-use intensity (LUI) in post-SovietWestern Siberia was observed on grassland due to declining livestock whilst on cropland trends of land abandonment reversed in the early 2000s. Recultivation of abandoned cropland as well as increasing fertilizer inputs and narrowing crop rotations led to increasing LUI on cropland during the last two decades. Beyond that general trend, no information is available about spatial distribution and magnitude but a crucial precondition for the development of strategies for sustainable land management. To quantify changes and patterns in LUI, we developed an intensity index that reflects the impacts of land-based agricultural production. Based on subnational yearly statistical data, we calculated two separate input-orientated indices for cropland and grassland, respectively. The indices were applied on two spatial scale: at seven provinces covering the Western Siberian grain belt (Altay Kray, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Sverdlovsk and Tyumen) and at all districts of the central province Tyumen. The spatio-temporal analysis clearly showed opposite trends for the two land-use types: decreasing intensity on grassland (-0.015 LUI units per year) and intensification on cropland (+0.014 LUI units per year). Furthermore, a spatial concentration towards intensity centres occurred during transition from a planned to a market economy. A principal component analysis enabled the individual calculations of both land-use types to be combined and revealed a strong link between biophysical conditions and LUI. The findings clearly showed the need for having a different strategy for future sustainable land management for grassland (predominantly used by livestock of households) and cropland (predominantly managed by large agricultural enterprises), which have to be addressed specifically by the different land users. As all input data are publicly available, the approach described is readily transferable to other regions or countries of the former Soviet Union. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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checked on Feb 22, 2024