Desertification in Russia: Problems and solutions (an example in the Republic of Kalmykia-Khalmg Tangch)
- 173 Downloads
During the second half of the 20th century Kalmykia has undergone severe desertification. Under Soviet rule, rangelands were increasingly devoted to animal production, and pastures were converted to cropland in a campaign to increase crops. Pastures were grazed two to three times their sustainable production, saiga populations and habitat greatly decreased, more than 17 million ha were subjected to wind erosion, 380,000 ha were transformed into moving sands, and 106,000 ha were ruined by secondary salinization and waterlogging. By the 1990s almost 80% of the Republic had undergone desertification, and 13% had been transformed into a true desert. In 1986 the General Scheme of Desertification Control was formulated. The scheme called for rotating pastures, reclaiming blown sand using silviculture, tilling overgrazed pastures and sowing fodder plants, and developing water supplies for pastures. In its early years the scheme has been successful. But the management of restored pastures usually reverts to the same farms responsible for the poor conditions, and there is great apprehension that degradation could reoccur. This case study concludes that the general cattle and agriculture development in Kalmykia is unviable for ecological and economic reasons, that Kalmykia should implement an adaptive policy oriented toward conservation and accommodating the interrelation and variability of land resources, that the desertification problem can be solved only by changing agrarian policy as a whole, and that a desertification control program must become an integral part of economic and social development of the Republic.
KeywordsAnimal Production Poor Condition Wind Erosion Land Resource Economic Reason
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bananova, V.A. 1986. Methodical directions for investigation of desertification processes of arid areas in the Kalmyk ASSR. Kalmyk University, Elista, p. 38.Google Scholar
- Bananova, V.A. 1993. Anthropogenic desertification of arid areas of Kalmykia. Synopsis of thesis for Doctor's Degree of Geographical Sciences. Ilym, Ashgabad, p. 44.Google Scholar
- Bananova, V.A., G.M. Borikov and J.E. Khahulov. 1986. Towards investigation of present state of desertification processes in Kalmykia. In Ecological problems of desert development and wilderness conservation, Ylym, Ashgabad, pp. 92–94.Google Scholar
- Dregne, H., M. Kassas and B. Rozanov. 1991. A new assessment of the world status of desertification. United Nations Environment Programme Desertification Control Bulletin 20: 6–18.Google Scholar
- Kazakov, B.G. 1989. Chernye Zemli. In The Caspian Sea area for us and our children, Moscow, pp. 358–383.Google Scholar
- Reznikov, N.I. 1993. First results of the realization of the general scheme of desertification control of Black Lands and Kizlyar pastures, Agrolesomeliostroy, Elista, p. 12.Google Scholar
- Rozanov, B. 1990. Assessment of global desertification. In Desertification revisited. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, pp. 45–122.Google Scholar
- State Report. 1992. On the state of the environment of the Russian Federation in 1991. Moscow.Google Scholar
- Vinogradov, B.V. 1993. The Present dynamics and ecological forecasting of natural environment in Kalmykia. Problems of Desert Development N1: 29–37.Google Scholar
- Zonn, S.V. 1986. “Black Lands” of Kalmykia. In Arid land development and the combat against desertification: An integrated approach, USSR Commission for UNEP, Moscow, pp 124–127.Google Scholar
- Zonn, I.S. 1994. A creeping environmental phenomenon in Russia: Desertification in Kalmykia, in M. Glantz (Ed.), Workshop Report on Creeping Environmental Phenomena, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, pp. 169–174.Google Scholar