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Vol 13, No 4 (2020)
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6-23 498

This paper reviews reconstructions of the the evolution of the Ponto-Caspian basin system to certain parts of the Pontian-Mediterranean system in order to analyze their correlation and response of the systems to the global climate change. The Ponto–Caspian and Mediterranean basins belong to different types of water basins and evolved differently in the Late Pleistocene responding in different ways to the global climate change. The paleogeographic reconstructions and correlation analysis of the Late Pleistocene events (within the last climatic macrocycle) made it possible to view the evolution of the basins as parts of a single system allowing to identify certain specific features and patterns in their functioning. The study is based on the analysis and integration of the data published by numerous researchers including the author of the paper and numerous colleagues from many countries who have been studying the paleogeography of the Ponto-Caspian and Mediterranean regions in the Late Pleistocene.


24-31 263

Sediments are an essential part of the aquatic environment that define its transformation and development. The construction of dams results in severe changes in sediment fluxes. This study aims to assess how the sediment load of the upper Moskva River is affected by the Mozhaysk Dam flow regulation and to estimate its dynamics over the years of the reservoir’s existence. Our analysis of the 1968, 2012 and 2016 detailed field data shows a 20-40% decrease in the proportion of the spring flood in the annual sediment load into the reservoir, which is caused by changes in the streamflow regime of the inflowing rivers. The peak suspended sediment concentrations have decreased 5- to 10-fold, likely due to a significant decline in the watershed’s cultivated land area, which caused a decrease in the erosion rate. In the Moskva River below the dam, the seasonal dynamics of the suspended sediment concentration no longer corresponds to the natural regime. The annual suspended load of the Moskva River below the Mozhaysk Reservoir decreased up to 9-fold. The sediment retention in the reservoir has dropped from 90% to 70-85% and is to some extent restored by an outflow of the particulate organic matter produced in the reservoir. We also described the relationships between water turbidity and suspended sediment concentration of the reservoir’s tributaries, which allow for the first time to estimate the sediment load with higher accuracy than was previously possible.

32-42 413

At the end of the last century, the Rif mountains of Morocco have experienced significant changes in the level of agricultural activity, especially it concerns the increase in cannabis cultivation, which is characterized by high water requirements. For that reason, a number of Artificial Impoundments (AIs) have been constructed in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima (TTA) region, where by August 2017 there were more than 1400 of such structures. This requires to a study the efficiency and potential negative effects of such noticeable development. It has been shown that these hydraulic structures have provided additional positive value to the agricultural sector, especially to the proscribed industry of cannabis cultivation. Regarding other effects, the present study has found that their impact on the hydraulic and hydrographic aspects at the moment is very limited and that the only major constraint for their application is related to the issue of security, which arises from the fragile geological structure that is observed in the majority of the region.

43-53 321

The type of surface influences the temperature of a surface. If it is made of concrete or another hard material, the temperature will be higher. Hence it is essential to study the land surface temperature (LST) of urban areas. The LST is an important parameter in the estimation of radiation budgets and heat balance and is a controlling factor of dynamic climate changes. In this work, we made an effort to identify the LST of the Midnapore Kharagpur Development Authority planning region. Multi-temporal images acquired by Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 using OLI sensors on 3 May 2001, 7 May 2011 and 29 May 2019, respectively, were corrected for radiometric and geometric errors and processed to extract LULC classes and LST. Thermal remote sensing can be used to monitor the temperature and local climate of urban areas. This study has shown that the temperature varies across the surface according to land use. It was found that the urbanized area increased from 6.79% (40.39 sq. km) to 11.6% (69.2 sq. km) between 2001 and 2011 and from 11.6% (69.2 sq. km) to 17.22 % (102.79 sq. km) between 2011 and 2019. The LST study has shown that there has been a tremendous change in the spatial pattern of the temperature between 2001 and 2019. Whereas in 2001 the highest temperature did not exceed 34°C, by 2019 it had increased by nearly 8°C, reaching 41.29°C. So, the findings of this study are significant.

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The paper describes the structure and content of the Information System database containing information on earthquake events, which is developed and supported within the framework of computer support for the EMERCOM of the Russian Federation. The database is assigned to provide analytical support for decision making in case of an emergency situation, including tools for mathematical simulation of hazardous excitation, the response of elements at risk to excitation and loss generation. The calibration procedure of the earthquake vulnerability functions for buildings and structures using the database with descriptions of events is presented. The calibrated functions of earthquake vulnerability for buildings of different types are applied to provide an acceptable accuracy of situational assessments for the case of a strong earthquake. The examples of earthquake damage estimations for the test site in Siberia showed that region-specific parameters in the vulnerability functions yield more reliable results to estimate possible damage and losses due to a large earthquake. For Irkutsk City, the estimates of the numbers of heavily damaged and completely collapsed buildings obtained when using different sets of parameters for vulnerability functions differ by 30%. Such difference in damage estimates can significantly affect the plans for rescue and recovery operations. The conclusion is made about the advantage of the calibrated functions application for near real-time damage and loss assessment due to strong earthquakes in order to ensure population safety and territory sustainable development.

65-71 244

In this study, the specific characteristics of Yakutia’s rural population dynamics in 1989-2019 in comparison with other Extreme North regions are identified along with geographical differences in the population dynamics of the republic’s rural districts. The research results are based on the analysis of the official statistical data and field trip observations in rural areas of Yakutia. Sakha has witnessed a relatively small decline in total rural population compared to other regions, which can be explained by the high proportion of the indigenous population that has a historical preference for living in rural areas and higher birth rates as well as by the regional rural support measures. Despite the common overall trend in the rural population dynamics, significant intraregional differences have been identified. In the regions characterized by more central location and a larger share of the indigenous people, the population growth due to migration and the natural increase was observed, while in more remote northern locations with poor transport accessibility to the region’s centre population decreased due to migration outflow. A shift in rural population took place in the districts of Central Yakutia, historical settlement area of Yakuts, who are engaged in livestock and horse breeding, which are the traditional types of economic activities for this territory. The largest population decrease due to migration outflow was observed in Momsky and Zhigansky ulus, which are characterized by their northern location, poor transport accessibility and a smaller share of indigenous people.

72-80 280

Vegetation cover has a noticeable effect on surface reflectivity and local microclimate in arid areas of Mongolian Gobi. Over the past decades, various shrub species (Haloxylon ammodendron and Calligonum mongolicum) have appeared on the previously unvegetated hamada. The climatic consequences of bush encroachment are still poorly understood. Using the experimental data, this article estimates the reflectance of plants dominating in Mongolia’s dry steppe, desert-steppe, and desert ecosystems. The average values of the total reflection coefficient at visible and infrared wavelengths range from 19.7% ± 1.4% to 20.1% ± 1.7% in plants growing in desert-steppe ecosystems, and from 25.0% ± 0.9% to 24.8% ± 1.5% on the bare surface. The difference between the reflectance of vegetated and unvegetated surfaces reaches 5%. Therefore, in daylight hours, the vegetated day surface loses less solar energy than the non-vegetated surface does. This phenomenon may be defined as a quasi- or secondary greenhouse effect – in daylight hours, solar energy is retained on the surface by vegetation and this contributes to the temperature increase. Such an impulse, which seems to be insignificantly small at first glance, triggers a series of climatic variations leading to a change in the structure of the radiation and heat balance as well as the climate not only in the desert-steppe and desert ecosystems but also in Central Asia as a whole. All this may explain the 1.2-2.3°C increase in air temperatures in the Gobi observed over the last 25 years.

81-97 334

This research analyzed land-use changes (LUC) in the Nam San Watershed (NSW) by applying geoinformatics methods and land-use modeling approach to explore LUC in the past. Landsat satellite images from years 2002, 2007 and 2013 were classified using a maximum likelihood algorithm to create land-use maps. For assessing future LUC over a period of twenty years (2014–2033), land-use simulations were conducted using a dynamic LUC model (Dyna-CLUE model) in two land management scenarios: Scenario 1 is a simple projection of the LUC trend without reservation area, while Scenario 2 projects the LUC trend with reservation area in future periods. NSW land-use maps for 2002–2013 were analyzed using geoinformatics technology. The results revealed that the amount of forested area within the NSW has reduced drastically, from 380.40 km² to 267.23 km², changing to fields and perennial crops, which the logistic regression identified as being influenced by a slope factor. These data was used as a reference for LUC detection with the model simulation in two scenarios. Model results have shown that by 2033, Scenario 1 predicts a significant decrease in the overall forest area, from 72.21 km² to 41.55 km² in Phu Ruea district, and from 107.31 km² to 45.62 km² in Phu Luang district. Whereas Scenario 2 predicts slightly decreasing forest area within the reservation area, but rapid decrease, from 177.86 km² to 28.54 km² outside the reservation area, where the distance to village factor is the main influencer. These findings highlight the importance and the potential of model predictions for planning activities to protect forested areas.

98-106 191

Active construction of new roads and other linear structures requires new techniques for the natural hazard assessment. These techniques can involve both stochastic modeling and remote sensing data (RSD). First, the dynamics of thermokarst appearance along an unpaved road (winter road) was analyzed. Then a probabilistic model of the thermokarst morphological pattern was developed for the area in the vicinity of a linear structure, a road in particular. The model operates with initial assumptions based on the physical parameters of thermokarst development and includes relations for estimating the distribution of morphometric dimensions of thermokarst depressions (ponds). The model was empirically tested for the study area, which represented a site with an unpaved road located in West Siberia region. To verify the model, we calculated the correlation coefficient values for the length of the focus projections on the linear structure and the perpendicular axis and compared the empirical distribution of the projections with the theoretical lognormal distribution using the Pearson’s criterion. The proposed model assumptions appeared to be valid for the study area, which makes it possible to proceed to the problem of probabilistic impact risk assessment to a linear structure by foci of human-induced thermokarst.

107-120 411

An attempt has been made to compare the salient characteristics of LULC transformations in planned (Faisalabad) and quasi-planned (Jhang) urban settlements of Pakistan. The Landsat-5 TM, Landsat 7 EMT+ and Landsat-8 images of 1989, 1999, 2009 and 2019, respectively, were retrieved and processed through google earth engine. The dynamics of LULC critically analyzed for the three periods 1989–1999, 1999–2009 and 2009–2019. The LULC analyzed in terms of quantity of change, gains, losses, and persistence of the study area examined carefully. The study mainly focuses on the LULC transformations of the previous 30 years (1989–2019). These 30 years witnessed massive physical expansions and LULC convergences. During this time interval, the built-up areas in these cities expanded, and productive agricultural land substantially squeezed. The spatialtemporal analysis of LULC changes calls for improvised strategies for the resilience of land and environmental resources. The direct beneficiaries of this research are resource managers and regional planners as well as others scientific community.

121-132 304
Continual, historical, and precise information about the land use and land cover (LULC) changes of the Earth’s surface is extremely important for any kind of sustainable development program, in which LULC serves as one of the major input criteria. In this study, a supervised classification was applied to five types of Landsat images collected over time (1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2015) that provided recent and historical LULC conditions for the area. Four LULC categories were identified and mapped. Post-classification comparisons of the classified images indicated that the major change consisted of barren land changing into agricultural land. This analysis revealed that substantial growth of built-up areas in the south eastern part of Kolkata over the study period resulted in significant decrease in the area of water bodies, cultivated land, vegetation and wetlands. Urban land transformation has been largely driven by large number of population and high population growth rate with rapid economic and infrastructural development like the extension of metro railway, flyovers and hence huge real estate development.
133-139 231
The article aims to present social ties of the Republic of Bashkortostan based on voice cell phone data, which covers 12 million calls from and to the region during the first five days of March 2020. About 96% of calls are made within the republic and only 4% of them are interregional. The people of the Republic of Bashkortostan have close connections with those who live in neighboring regions (Orenburg, Sverdlovsk oblast, the Republic of Tatarstan and especially Chelyabinsk oblast). Being a part of the Ural Economic Region, the Volga Federal District and Volga-Ural Macro Region, the republic has turned mostly towards Ural regions. We also found that the republic has close social ties with Moscow and Moscow region, St. Petersburg and Leningrad oblast, as well as Krasnodar kray, Samara oblast and two Autonomous Districts: Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets. We estimated the number of persons who possessed Bashkir SIM-card and were outside the republic during the research period – 183 thousand; the most of them were in the abovementioned regions. While conversation between residents lasts 50 seconds, which is among the smallest values, the calls to and from republics of Altai, Tyva, Khakassia, Sakha and Magadan oblast are 5-8 times longer. Overall, the communication pattern reflects migration flows and economic relations between regions. The results of this study can be utilized by researchers and Bashkir government to explore spatial interaction patterns between regions and may help to guide transportation planning and other potential applications, e.g. infrastructure construction projects. In conclusion, we postulate that cell phone data can be exploited as a source of social ties data, however, the strengthening communication shift into Internet space is diminishing information on the directional features of the ties.
140-147 321
During the period of planned economies in Russia and Poland, services were underestimated as a sector of economic activity. To some degree, this continues to be the case. In spite of the existence of market economies in Central and Eastern Europe for more than 25 years, Russia and Poland should be categorized differently in terms of economic and social development. Based on D. Bell’s and his followers’ (M. Castells, A. Toffler, J. Rifkin, P. Drucker) theory of post-industrial society and post-industrial economy, Poland can be classified as a post-industrial country, while Russia is still an industrial country in many aspects. This point of view is based on global statistics and cross-country comparisons. The following statistical data has been used as a source for this research: share of services in GDP by country, contribution (value added) of seven main types of services to the respective GDP of Russia, Poland and other selected countries, value added and governmental expenditures per capita of primary services in aforementioned economies. The main differences between the Russian and Polish service sectors are indicated. The cases of Russia and Poland are presented here to highlight the key common features of Central and Eastern European countries’ tertiary sectors.
148-158 182

Gosaba C.D. Block is an active tidal island of the Indian Sundarban. In this island, human-induced modification of the natural drainage system poses serious threats to the estuarine environment. It was started during the British colonial period through the construction of embankment to protect the reclaimed coastal land from saline water ingression. The rapid growth of population over the last few decades has triggered the changes in the drainage network and also altered the land use land cover of the study area. The human encroachment on the drainage area has hampered the sedimentation process as well as water circulation in the delta. As a result, the island is gradually transforming into saucer-shaped form, which aggravates various coastal threats like flood inundation, waterlogging and embankment breaching during extreme environmental events. To study the spatio-temporal change of the drainage network pattern from 1955 to 2018, different multi-temporal satellite images, US Army Toposheet, Census of India Report (2001 and 2011) and Human Development Report (2014) have been used as a source of secondary data for the analysis in ArcGIS environment. In addition to this, instrumental surveying has been done to measure the slope direction in relation to land use land cover and a questionnaire survey was conducted to understand the livelihood status of people influenced by various coastal threats and risks due to the drainage congestion. The study reveals that population density has gradually increased in recent decades and is negatively correlated with the drainage density on the island. The choking of the surface drainage canals has increased the problem of waterlogging in agricultural fields, which affected their productivity. Therefore, a strategy for management of the drainage network needs to be urgently implemented in order to protect the life and livelihood of rural people from various coastal threats.

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Land degradation is human-induced and natural process that adversely affects the land, to function effectively within a complex ecosystem. In recent years, the Kallar watershed has encountered various kinds of multifarious problems on both land and water in the urban and its environs. The upper part of the study area is facing water scarcity problems in the past few years, but which included no such rare occurrences in the past. The mid-portion in the vicinity of foothills are highly affected by soil erosion, whereas the lower portion of the area has faced problems like land degradation, such as an unusual increase of wastelands and conversion of good agriculture lands into construction plots. Apart from these, the study area is frequently affected by nature induced disasters like a landslide, forest fire, flooding, and drought. In this complex situation, the qualitative assessment of human-induced land degradation and its impact is essential. For this, Geospatialbased Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE) as a multidisciplinary approach has been adopted. To assess land degradation, six major criterions are preferred such as terrain (slope, elevation), environment (landuse/land cover, NDVI), soil erosion, and demography (population density). Considerable weights and ranks were assigned through an empirical MCE method. Based on the criteria, the land degradation was carefully delineated into five significant categories such as low (38.3%), moderately (23.6%), marginally (15.4%), highly (4.8%), and severely degraded (17.8%). The depletion of vegetation cover on hilly terrain and subsequent cultivation without proper protection measures constitute the possible reason for severe soil erosion and land degradation.

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ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)