Preview

GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY

Advanced search
Scientific and practical peer-reviewed journal

Aim of the journal “GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY” published in English is to illuminate related interdisciplinary scientific fields, many new approaches and methods along with a wide range of their practical applications. This goal covers a broad spectrum of scientific research areas and also considers contemporary and widely used research methods, such as geoinformatics, cartography, remote sensing (including from space), geophysics, geochemistry, etc.

In the areas of “GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, and SUSTAINABILITY” a new challenge to structure accumulated knowledge, to describe inner relations, and to form spheres of influence between different disciplines has emerged. The scope of the GES is to publish original and innovative papers that will substantially improve, in a theoretical, conceptual or empirical way the quality of research, learning, teaching and applying geography, as well as in promoting the significance of geography as a discipline.

The main sections of the journal are the theory of geography and ecology, the theory of sustainable development, use of natural resources, natural resources assessment, global and regional changes of environment and climate, social-economical geography, ecological regional planning, sustainable regional development, applied aspects of geography and ecology, geoinformatics and ecological cartography, ecological problems of oil and gas sector, nature conservations, health and environment, and education for sustainable development.

Articles are freely available to both subscribers and the wider public with permitted reuse. The printed version contains color figures . Color reproduction in print is free of charge of all accepted articles. Journal publishes 4 issues per year, each issue 120–150 pages long. Manuscripts are  submitted and peer-reviewed in an on-line mode.

 

Current issue

Vol 12, No 3 (2019)
View or download the full issue PDF

GEOGRAPHY

6-15 41
Abstract

The paper deals with mathematical modeling of a morphological pattern for a broad spectrum of cryolithozone landscapes in a state of a dynamic balance. The state of the dynamic balance means that all the elements of this morphological pattern are in continuous changing while its general parameters as a whole are stable. Two contradirectional processes at the same territory is a precondition for a state of dynamic balance.
We developed a morphological pattern model for lacustrine thermokarst plains with fluvial erosion on the base of the mathematical morphology of landscape using the random process theory. The contra-directional processes here include thermokarst lakes appearing and increasing in size from one side and drainage of the lakes by fluvial erosion, from the other. Thus, the regularities of the structure and dynamics of each landscape morphological pattern are theoretically substantiated. The results of the mathematical modeling were empirically verified at some key sites.

16-26 29
Abstract
Three first-year ice ridges have been examined with respect to geometry and morphology in landfast ice of Shokal'skogo Strait (Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago) in May 2018. Two of the studied ice ridges were located on the edge of the ridged field and were part of it, because their keels extended for a long distance deep into this field. Ice ridges characteristics are discussed in the paper. These studies were conducted using hot water thermal drilling with computer recording of the penetration rate. Boreholes were drilled along the cross-section of the ridge crest at 0.25 m intervals. Cross-sectional profiles of ice ridges are illustrated. The maximal sail height varied from 2.9 up to 3.2 m, the maximal keel depth varied from 8.5 up to 9.6 m. The average keel depth to sail height ratio varied from 2.8 to 3.3, and the thickness of the consolidated layer was 2.5-3.5 m. The porosity of the non-consolidated part of the keel was about 23-27%. The distributions of porosity versus depth for all ice ridges are presented.

ENVIRONMENT

27-33 39
Abstract

Environmental study was carried out to describe a geographical area and its biodiversity. The example here shows the features of human nutrition habits and quality of life with specific study of negative impact on the environment and Earth resources.
Tuti Island in Sudan was prone to this complex problem so it is taken as a case study. The hypothesis is that the use of RS and GIS could help in reconstruction of unused territories so it could help to solve the problem. Changes of land use and land cover were observed using classified Landsat 5 images in 1972, Landsat 7 in 1985 and Landsat 8 in 2018.
The results showed that several temporal changes occurred beside turning dense tree cover land into lands with other landuse purposes for 1972, 1985 and 2018. Agricultural zones (crops and trees) were major dominant zones in 1972, 1985 and 2018. In addition, populated residential areas increased through time but not as significantly as trees, sand and cropping landuse areas (P=0.89082) as for the classified Landsat 8 image acquired in 2018. Ecosystem planning through GIS and RS could be a good way to solve most of these issues for the future of Tuti Island landuse.

34-42 36
Abstract
Strong wind is the main cause of storm sea waves. In order to minimize risks and damages from this phenomenon in the future, precise projections of future climate conditions are necessary. Extremely high wind speed events in the 20th - 21st centuries over Arctic seas were investigated using ERA-Interim reanalysis data (1981-2010) and CMIP5 models ensemble (RCP8.5 scenario, 2005-2100). Two different approaches were applied to investigate extreme wind events. The first one is traditional and involves direct analysis of wind speed data. It was used for the entire area of the Arctic seas. The second approach is based on an assumption that local and mesoscale extreme weather events are connected with large-scale synoptic processes. As it was shown in previous studies for the Black, Caspian and Baltic seas, it is possible to make climate projection of sea storm waves indirectly, studying the heterogeneity of sea level atmospheric pressure (SLP) fields that are the main factors of strong wind speed and wind waves. In this case, it is not necessary to run long-term simulations with a sea wave model to predict storm activity for the future climate. It is possible to analyze projections of storm SLP fields that are predicted by climate models much better than the wind speed required for a wave model. This method was implemented for the high wind speed events over the Barents Sea. Four major types of SLP fields accompanying high wind speed were revealed for the modern climate. It was shown that the frequency of their occurrence is expected to increase by the end of the 21st century.

SUSTAINABILITY

43-59 33
Abstract

Accelerated soil erosion is one of the most important detrimental factors affecting the quality of the watershed health. Due to different environmental pressures and drivers, the effort is needed for ecological health and resilience assessment in regards to erosion changeability. However, this important subject has not been adequately studied yet. Towards this, in the present research, an innovative approach was developed for conceptualizing the watershed health dynamics in viewpoint of soil erosion. A risk-based study was conducted to quantitatively characterize the spatiotemporal variability of erosion-based health in an industrialized watershed i.e., the Shazand Watershed using the conceptual reliability, resilience and vulnerability (RelResVul) framework for four node years of 1986, 1998, 2008 and 2014. To this end, the soil erosion was estimated at monthly scale in 24 sub-watersheds by applying the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). The RelResVul indicators were then computed according to the threshold defined for the study watershed. A geometric mean was used to combine the three risk indicators and the erosion-based watershed health index was ultimately calculated for each study sub-watershed. Additionally, the change detection analysis was conducted over the years of 1986 to 2014. According to the results of erosion-based the RelResVul indices, very healthy, healthy, moderately healthy, unhealthy and very un-healthy conditions in the Shazand Watershed were respectively distributed over some 67, 25, zero, zero and eight percent for 1986; 50, 13, eight, zero and 29 % for 1998; 71, eight, 83, zero, zero and eight percent for 2008 and finally 71, zero, 17, zero and 12 % for 2014. The results of change detection revealed an oscillating trend of erosion-based watershed health index during the whole study period (1986 -2014). So that, during periods of 1986-1998, 1986-2008 and 1986-2014, the watershed health decreased at tune of 23, 13 and six percent, respectively. Whilst, the watershed health improved during study periods of 1998-2008 (13 %), 2008-2014 (eight percent) and 1998-2014 (22 %). The results also identified ‘hot spots’ of the most important index of land degradation and ‘bright spots’ of land improvement in the Shazand Watershed.
The proposed approach would provide a sustainable framework supporting decision makers to comprehend health-related soil erosion targets according to the integrated watershed management plans.

SPECIAL ISSUE

60-65 49
Abstract
The Mongolian Plateau forms a part of the Central Asian Plateau and covers an area of approximately 3,200,000 square kilometers in Mongolia and adjacent areas in China and Southern Siberia. It contains one of the world’s largest grassland areas, with the Gobi desert in the south and a transition via steppe and forest steppe to the taiga and mountain tundra in the North (Dulamsuren et al. 2005; Miao et al. 2015). Due to its location, the Plateau's climate is continental and semi-arid to arid, characterized by low precipitation (about 250 mm on average), high potential evapotranspiration (almost 1000 mm on average), large temperature amplitudes, long and harsh winters and recurrent droughts (Dorjgotov 2009; Liu et al. 2019). The Mongolian Plateau mostly drains into the Arctic Ocean basin, including the system of the Selenga River and Lake Baikal, which is not only the world's largest freshwater lake but also a natural heritage of global importance (Kasimov et al. 2017). Hydrologically, parts of the plateau also belong to the Pacific Ocean and Central Asian internal drainage basins.
66-78 15
Abstract
Mongolia and Transbaikalia (M-TB) have experienced severe drought over the past 20 years due to the increased frequency of anticyclogenesis. However, in the summer of 2018, as a result of the formation of a series of cyclones over Mongolia and their move to the Transbaikalia, abnormally high precipitation was observed in the M-TB region. The dynamics of long Rossby waves and atmospheric blocking in the middle and upper troposphere were investigated to identify the causes of cyclogenesis over Mongolia. It was revealed that a sequence of events predefined the extreme precipitation in M-TB in the 2018 summer – the intensification of heat flux over the North Atlantic while maintaining cyclonic vorticity over Central Europe, the development of blocking ridges in the Urals and the Russian Far East, and an upper-level trough oriented to the eastern regions Mongolia. For a long time, the persistent advection of cold air in the rear part of the upper-level trough, as well as increased heat advection during the activation of the East Asian summer monsoon, caused meridional oriented upper-level front strengthening over the eastern regions of Mongolia and extreme precipitation.
79-97 33
Abstract
The emergence and spread of non-native invasive forest insects represent a major potential threat to global biodiversity. The present study examines the current invasion of the far eastern four-eyed fir bark beetle Polygraphus proximus Blandf. in southern Siberian fir (Abies sibirica Ledeb.) forests. We collected data on 38 large sized (2500 m²) sample plots, situated in fir forests of the Tomsk region. As a direct result of the four-eyed fir bark beetle infestation, stand density decreased by 34-37%, and stand volume by 30%. The mean height, individual age and diameter at the stand level consequently increased. Our results indicated that stands with complete left-sided or normal ontogenetic structure (composed primarily of late virginal firs or firs in young reproductive stage) are more resistant to invasion by the four-eyed fir bark beetle. By contrast, fir forests characterized by more right-sided ontogenetic structure (composed primarily of mature and old reproductive firs), exhibited the least resistance and, with rare exception, degraded rapidly in response to the invasion. Our results also pointed to a mechanism that initiates invasions of the four-eyed fir bark beetle in fir stands of all types of ontogenetic structure, which is the attack of virginal trees and trees in early reproductive stages. Trees up to average diameter are the most susceptible to invasions of the bark beetle. We identified thicker bark, larger DBH and low occurrence of heart rot as the most important parameters for indicating resistance at the single tree level. DBH and bark thickness (p<0.05) correlated significantly with tree health status in infested stands. Our overall assessment of the potential natural regeneration of damaged stands is that the Siberian fir forests are resilient to invasive species and that the fir ecosystems can potentially recover from this disturbance.
98-116 19
Abstract

We developed a geo-vegetation zonation in the Khaan Khentii massif, northern Mongolia. Our specific objective was to assess and classify the response of the tree vegetation to environmental factors operating at a coarse climatic level. We sampled forest ecosystem vegetation, climate, physiographic features, and soil properties. Our analysis included clustering, ordination, classification, and ANOVA techniques. Based on the complex data set, we identified three geo-vegetation zones: forest-steppe, montane and dark taiga zone. We characterized them based on the regional environmental factors; (1) climate as indicated by altitude, i.e., precipitation, (2) geomorphology by an index of the vertical distance to channel network and soils by O horizon thickness and soil types. Birch and aspen ecosystems were excluded as discrete zones due to their broad ecological amplitude.

The geo-vegetation zonation outlined in this paper is the first attempt at quantifying vegetation along with the environment at a macroclimatic level in Mongolia. This coarsescale zonation provides a framework for building a comprehensive ecological classification, a background for sustainable forest management, which is currently unavailable in Mongolia and many central Asian countries. Additionally, it offers a roadmap for a comprehensive ecosystem survey and may act as an information platform and reference for current environmental issues such as forest degradation across Mongolian landscapes. 

117-132 18
Abstract
We used our database of tree biomass with a number of 433 sample trees of Larix from different ecoregions of Eurasia, involving 61 trees from Mongolia for developing an additive model of biomass tree components. Our approach solved the combined problem of additivity and regionality of the model. Our additive model of tree aboveground biomass was harmonized in two ways: first, it eliminated the internal contradictions of the component and of the total biomass equations, secondly, it took into account regional (and correspondingly species-specific) differences of trees in its component structure. A significant excess of larch biomass in the forest-tundra is found that may be explained by permafrost conditions, by tree growth in low-yielding stands with a high basic density of stem wood and relatively high developed tree crown in open stands. The aboveground biomass of larch trees in Mongolia does not stand out against the background of the most ecoregions of Eurasia. Based on our results, we conclude that the growing conditions of larch in Mongolia are not as tough as it was suggested earlier by other scientists. Biomass relations between regions may be explained by unknown and unaccounted factors and errors of measurements in all their phases (assessment of age, diameter, height of a tree, the selection of supposedly representative samples of component biomass, their drying, weighing, etc.). The question what explains the regional differences in the structure of biomass of trees with the same linear dimensions of their stems, remains open. Undoubtedly, the differences in tree age here play an important role. Also, important factor is the variation in the morphological structure of stands, which, in turn, is determined by both climatic and edaphic factors. The obtained models allow the determination of larch forest biomass in different ecoregions of Eurasia with the help of height and diameter data.
133-166 144
Abstract

The natural conditions, climate change and socio-economic challenges related to the transformation from a socialistic society towards a market-driven system make the implementation of sustainable land management practices in Mongolia especially complicated. Forests play an important role in land management. In addition to providing resources and ecosystem functions, Mongolian forests protect against land degradation.

We conducted a literature review of the status of forest management in Mongolia and lessons learned, with special consideration to halting deforestation and degradation. We grouped our review into seven challenges relevant to developing regionally adapted forest management systems that both safeguard forest health and consider socio-economic needs. In our review, we found that current forest management in Mongolia is not always sustainable, and that some practices lack scientific grounding. An overwhelming number of sources noticed a decrease in forest area and quality during the last decades, although afforestation initiatives are reported to have increased. We found that they have had, with few exceptions, only limited success. During our review, however, we found a number of case studies that presented or proposed promising approaches to (re-)establishing and managing forests. These studies are further supported by a body of literature that examines how forest administration, and local participation can be modified to better support sustainable forestry. Based on our review, we conclude that it is necessary to integrate capacity development and forest research into holistic initiatives. A special focus should be given to the linkages between vegetation cover and the hydrological regime.

167-183 20
Abstract

Mongolia’s first Multipurpose National Forest Inventory, 2014-2017, was implemented by the Forest Research and Development Centre, in collaboration with international expertise and the country’s main forestry institutions, universities and research organisations.

The long-term objective of the multipurpose NFI is to promote sustainable management of forestry resources in Mongolia, to enhance their social, economic and environmental functions.

The NFI findings show that there are 11.3 million hectares of Boreal Forest in Mongolia. 9.5 million hectares are Stocked Boreal Forest Area, of which 69 percent is located outside of protected areas, 4 percent are designated for green-wood utilisation through forest enterprise concessions, and another 16 percent designated for fallen dead-wood collection through forest user group concessions. The non-protected stocked forests (i.e. production forest) have an average growing stock volume of 115 m3 per hectare, compared with an optimal growing stock volume of 237 m3 per hectare, and there is an additional 46.5 m3 of dead wood per hectare. The growing stock age distribution shows that 24 m3 per hectare are over 200 years (i.e. economically over-aged). The main tree species in stocked forest are Larix sibirica (81%), Pinus sibirica (7%), Betula platyphylla (6%) and Pinus sylvestris (5%), of which all, except for P. sibirica, are classified as legally harvestable tree species. Wild fire is the current main environmental factor decreasing the forest tree biomass.

The NFI helped identifying priority areas for the forestry sector, and to guide the implementation of sustainable forest management at the local level. The main forest management challenges of Mongolia’s boreal forest will be to address that they are a) under-stocked (less than 50% of production potential), b) over-aged (31% of growing stock volume in stocked production forest is above optimal production age), and c) under-utilised (4% of forest area designated to green-wood utilisation). 

184-198 14
Abstract
This paper provides information on long-term suppression of natural forest regeneration due to the livestock grazing in the vicinity of one of the world largest open-pit ore mine close the city of Erdenet in Mongolia. The area is characterized by high concentration of herder’s households where the 52% were found only up to 1 km distance from the forest edge. Forest grazing causes extensive damage to seedlings and significant reduction of their growth. Within the 30–99 cm height category, up to 61% Larix sibirica, 90% Betula platyphylla and 68% Populus tremula individuals are grazingdamaged. L. sibirica and P. tremula seedlings with heights over 99 cm were absent, and no individuals of any species were found within 136–200 cm height category. In addition to the seedlings, only 7 or more meters high L. sibirica individuals are found in the forest structure, which means the absence of successfully growing forest regeneration for at least 40 years. In 2017, the defoliation of L. sibirica, reaching locally up to 100%, occurred in the stands east of the mine. Total defoliation represents a high risk of mortality of affected individuals. The stands cannot be successfully regenerated under the conditions of current intensive grazing. Mine metal stocks are calculated to provide for at least another 25 years of mining. Over that time, neither significant population decline nor decreasing grazing pressure on forests can be expected. If effective protection measures are not implemented, there is a risk of transforming threatened forest into steppe.
199-212 21
Abstract
This article focuses on the relationships between major (Si, Al, Mg, Fe, Ca, Na, K, S, P and Ti) and potentially toxic trace (Ag, As, B, Ba, Bi, Co, Cd, Cr, Cu, F, Ge, Mo, Mn, Li, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sn, Sr, Tl, V and Zn) elements in Ulaanbaatar surface soils and also sources of the trace elements in the soils distinguished by the methods of multivariate statistical analysis. Results of exploratory data analysis of 325 Ulaanbaatar soil samples show the accumulation of Ca, S, B, Bi, Cu, Mo, Pb, Sb, Sn, Sr and Zn in urban soils. The major elements were grouped by cluster analysis in tree associations characterizing main soil fractions: sandy P-(K-Na-Si), clayey (Mg-Ti-Fe-Al) and silty (S-Ca). The factor analysis shows that silty fraction is enriched in major elements of both natural and anthropogenic origin. The principal component analysis from 32 variables extracted nine principal components with 82.49% of the cumulative explained variance. The results of cluster and factor analyses well agree and reaffirm the enrichment causes of potentially toxic elements are a coal combustion at thermal power stations (B, Bi, Ca, Mo, S and Sr) and traffic emissions (Cu, Pb, Sn and Zn). Spatial distributions of trace elements in the districts of Ulaanbaatar city were obtained by ordinary kriging. It is illustrated that the different principal components define the various origins and patterns of accumulation of trace elements in soils. The supplementation of data set by the concentration of organic carbon and the species of elements could help to identify the sources of such elements as P, Ni, Al, Fe, Ca, Ba, Bi, Cr, Zn, Sr and Sb in urban soils more completely.
213-223 11
Abstract

All over the world the transport sector contributes to local air pollution as well as CO2 -emissions and transportation related problems such as congestion especially in urban agglomerations. In Ulaanbaatar traffic is currently not the most important source of air pollution but it will gain importance due to a growing demand for transport and related effects. A transformation towards sustainable mobility is therefore needed which is pursued by reduction of the number of trips, influencing the modal split towards more sustainable modes and more efficient handling of mobility.

This paper discusses different characteristics of air pollution, traffic congestion and CO2 - emissions and respective suitability of policy instruments. It is argued that conducting mobility more efficient will be not enough to address all relevant effects of growing demand. In doing so special attention is given to the interaction of built environment, land use and transport as well as related planning approaches which is particularly important in a situation when urban growth has to be managed.

A transfer towards sustainable mobility needs a two-step approach: a more short-term improvement related to a more environmentally friendly transport system and a longterm approach to organise urban mobility in a sustainable way by adopting an integrated urban and transport planning and influencing transport behaviour. 

224-239 11
Abstract
Ecological problems of Zakamensk town are associated with sand deposits that were formed as a result of mining activities of former Dzhidinsky tungstenmolybdenum plant. Sands are accumulated in large quantities and they contain dangerous concentrations of heavy metals. Desertification in an urbanized area is manifested locally, but it differs from agricultural desertification by a profound and comprehensive destructive change in the components of the environment. Maps of soils, vegetation, types of lands, as well as ecological zoning maps of Zakamensk were created. The basis for the creation of electronic maps using GIS were stock, archive and own materials, topographic maps and remote sensing data. Urbanized desertification in Zakamensk is caused by chemical contamination of sandy eluvium, the spreading of pollutants by water flows and wind currents. Erosion occurs both in the form of flat flushing and linear erosion. The most intensive is gully erosion. Quantitative parameters of temporal variability of the erosive rainfall potential for the Zakamensk town are received. The quantitative characteristics of loads of pollutants on the territory of the town are determined on the basis of the erosion-deflation models. The calculations showed that 204 tons/ha of contaminated sand annually falls into the settlement area with water-erosion flows (Pb – 3.7 tons, W – 4.3 tons). Moreover, active wind activity led to the deposition of more metals (Pb – 5.6 tons, W – 6.5 tons) in the town.
240-263 29
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate the biofiltration ability of higher aquatic vegetation of the Selenga delta as a barrier for heavy metals and metalloids (HMM) flows into the Lake Baikal. Main aquatic vegetation species have been collected from deltaic channels and inner lakes: Nuphar pumila, Potamogeton perfoliatus, P. pectinatus, P. natans, P. friesii, Butomus umbellatus, Myriophyllum spicatum, Ceratophyllum demersum, Phragmites australis. Analysis of the obtained data showed that regardless of the place of growth hydatophytes spiked water-milfoil (M. spicatum) and the fennel-leaved pondweed (P. pectinatus) most actively accumulate metals. Opposite tendencies were found for helophytes reed (Ph. australis) and flowering rush (B. umbellatus), which concentrate the least amount of elements. This supports previous findings that the ability to concentrate HMM increases in the series of surface – floating – submerged plants. Regarding river water, the studied macrophyte species are enriched with Mn and Co, regarding suspended matter – Mo, Mn and B, regarding bottom sediments – Mn, Mo and As. We identified two associations of chemical elements: S-association with the predominant suspended form of migration (Be, V, Co, Ni, W, Pb, Bi, Mn, Fe and Al) and D-association with the predominant dissolved form of migration (B, U, Mo, Cr, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Sn and Sb). Due to these associations three groups of macrophytes were distinguished – flowering rush and reed with a low HMM content; small yellow pond-lily and common floating pondweed with a moderate accumulation of S-association and weak accumulation of D-association elements; and clasping-leaved pondweed, fennel-leaved pondweed, and pondweed Friesii accumulating elements of both S and D groups. The results suggest that macrophytes retain more than 60% of the total Mn flux that came into the delta, more than 10% – W, As, and from 3 to 10% B, Fe, Co, Mo, Cd, V, Ni, Bi, Be, Cu, Zn, Cr, U, Al. The largest contribution is made by the group of hydatophytes (spiked water-milfoil and pondweed), which account for 74 to 96% of the total mass of substances accumulated by aquatic plants.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.