Land Assessment in Russia Based on the Concept of Land Degradation Neutrality

Abstract—The Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) concept is a result of the development of global experience in assessing land degradation over the past 40 years and is worked out to harmonize different national methods for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the sustainable development indicator 15.3.1: “proportion of land that is degraded over total land area”. The paper reviews the results of land assessment for Russia using LDN concept approaches, first calculated for individual regions (federal subjects) using the Trends.Earth GIS module. This module uses global databases to interpret three main proxy indicators: land cover dynamics, land productivity dynamics, the dynamics of soil organic carbon stocks. Using “one out all out” principle, the Trends.Earth calculation for the entire territory of Russia shows the proportion of 12.3% of degraded lands, which is a very averaged indicator for the country with a high variety of socioeconomic and physical–geographical conditions. The variation in the of degraded lands calculated by this method ranges from about 63-67% in Rostov and Volgograd oblasts to less than 1% in Amur, Kaluga and Ivanovo oblasts. Considering the multidirectional trends in land quality change the “LDN index” is proposed for the development of the concept. It means the difference between the share of “improved” and “degraded” lands within a certain territory. The results of calculations should be considered as indicative, they will be specified as the LDN approach is developed and adapted for the territory of Russia.

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    By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

  2. 2.

    According to the latest official data, the proportion of degraded and derelict lands in the Russian Federation is 6.1% of the total area of the country [7, 3]. This value was calculated by the authors of this study using statistical data, which were collected and processed by a method fundamentally different from the Trends.Earth system. In particular, agricultural, forestry, environmental statistics and land registry data were summarized. It is important to note that in the system of state monitoring of Russian lands there are no direct analogs of the concepts of land cover and land productivity, the types of land cover do not correspond to the national land accounting system, and the concept of land degradation is related only to agricultural lands and determined basing on a set of soil and agrochemical indices.


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The article was prepared using research materials funded by the Russian Science Foundation (grant no. 18-17-00178 “The development of the novel concept of land degradation neutrality to assess the effectiveness of the approaches for sustainable land use and climate change adaptation”).

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Correspondence to G. S. Kust.

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Andreeva, O.V., Kust, G.S. Land Assessment in Russia Based on the Concept of Land Degradation Neutrality. Reg. Res. Russ. 10, 593–602 (2020).

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  • land degradation
  • desertification
  • global assessment
  • monitoring
  • land degradation assessment
  • land degradation neutrality
  • LDN index