Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 51, Issue 7, pp 803–813 | Cite as

Experience in Reconstruction of Agricultural Land Use for Balakhna District of Nizhniy Novgorod Gubernia in the 18th–19th Centuries (on the Basis of Cartographic Sources)

  • O. V. Kukushkina
  • I. O. Alyabina
  • A. A. Golubinskii
Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Fertility


Land use and soil cover patterns of arable lands in Balakhna district of Nizhny Novgorod gubernia in the last quarter of the 18th century and in the middle of the 19th century were studied with the use of the General Land Survey plan of Balakhna district (scale 1 : 84000), the map of Nizhny Novgorod gubernia by Mende (scale 1 : 42000), and the State Soil Map (scale 1 : 1 M). The data obtained attested to a steady and considerable decrease in the plowed area during that period. According to the historical materials, at the end of the 18th century, plowland occupied about 1290 km2, or 32% of the entire district (4200 km2). In the middle of the 19th century, the plowed area decreased to about 990 km2 (25%). According to the modern statistical data on land use in Balakhna district (within its boundaries of the 18th–19th centuries), the area of plowed fields is less than 700 km2 (18%). This means that at least 14% of the study area is occupied by the postagrogenic soils. If we take the plowed area of the district in the 18th century for 100%, we can conclude that more than 40% of formerly plowed lands have been transformed into long-term fallows. The absolute predomination of soddy-podzolic soils (Retisols) is typical of the soil cover of Balakhna district. In the course of the reduction of the plowland area from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century, the percent of different soils composing this area did not change much. In general, the impact of soil quality on the decrease in the plowland area in that period is not observed.


land use General Land Survey Plans maps by Mende soil cover geoinformation system 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. V. Kukushkina
    • 1
  • I. O. Alyabina
    • 1
  • A. A. Golubinskii
    • 2
  1. 1.Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Russian HistoryRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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