Transformation of Submediterranean landscapes of Russia

Authors and Affiliations: 

Marina N. Petrushina, Ksenia A. Merekalova

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Geography, Moscow, Russia


Study has been made to reveal the spatial organization, transformation and modern ecological state of the Mediterranean landscapes of Russia existing in the northeastern position of their area on the Black sea coast and characterizing by relict and endemic species of biota and fauna. The high concentration of different types of impact in a rather narrow coastal zone is typical for the region. The ecological situation is aggravated nowadays due to the increasing of uncontrolled recreation and construction of new pine-lines and oil terminals as well as periodic influence of active nature processes such as high-floods, debris flows, hurricanes, landslides. Two main regions were chosen for the study – the Abrau Peninsula (between Anapa and Novorossiysk) with relatively low anthropogenic impact and Tuapse surroundings with various anthropogenic transformations. These regions are characterized by several periods with different types of land use with rapidly increasing of recreation during the last decades.

Large-scale landscape and landscape-ecological maps (1:25000) with some detailed schemes on the model areas have been compiled on the basis of fieldwork (mapping and profiling) and remote sensing analysis. Natural and anthropogenic modified landscapes with different types of changes (practically unchanged, low, moderate and high modified) under anthropogenic impact have been shown on these maps. The degree of transformation of vertical and spatial structure of the landscapes has been chosen as the main criteria of landscape changes. Landscapes with high degree of transformation are more typical for the regions of settlements, vineyards and coastal recreation zone. The reduction of the biological diversity, including ecosystems with relict and endemic species, increase of soil disturbances and erosion landforms have been revealed for these regions. Meadows, thorny shrubs and secondary forests with low biomass and pure floristic composition replace the original vegetation in many places even on the Abrau peninsula, near 60% of relict pine-tree (Pinus pithyusa) forests in this region exist in the state of medium and high degree of degradation.

The study area is also characterized by degradation of coasts, particularly of unique sand beaches mainly in the Tuapse region as a result of the disturbance of dynamic balance in system land-sea due to the excavation of alluvial deposits from riverbeds for construction.

The integral scheme of landscape planning for the Tuapse surroundings based on series of applied maps for different types of land use and revealing the “conflict zones” in the land use have been also compiled.

The deterioration of ecological state of the Submediterranean landscapes causes the urgent measures of nature conservation. The organization of nature reserve “Utrish” in 2010 year on the Abrau peninsula – the youngest reserve in Russia – is one of the steps for sustainable development of the Black Sea coast.