Land management and the impact of the 2010 extreme drought event on the agricultural and ecological systems of European Russia

Extreme heat waves and droughts are common natural disasters in European Russia. The frequency and severity of heat waves have been on the rise in recent decades across Europe-a trend that is projected to continue into the 21st century. These disasters have complex social, economic, and environmental consequences reaching beyond their geographical boundaries. The extreme heat wave of 2010 had global-scale impacts on food security and regional-scale impacts on ecosystem functioning, air quality, and health. The outcomes were exacerbated by the forestry management and crop rotation practices employed in the region. The century-long economic preference for fast-growing conifers resulted in large uniform single-species even-aged pine stands, which are at least 2.5 times more likely to support fire ignition and to spread than dark-coniferous or mixed stands. Although extreme conditions result in fires that burn through all forest types indiscriminately, uniform pine stands encourage rapid fire growth and spread to uncontrollable levels. Similarly, a recent focus on more economically profitable late-spring crops resulted in the long-term depletion of soil moisture from expanded sunflower and corn cropping, which resulted in decreased soil moisture storage across cultivated lands, leaving them vulnerable to even minor droughts. The major drought of 2010 led to widespread crop yield declines and failure; however, only 2 % of the fields with late-spring crops that were cultivated in 5 of 10 years were impacted by drought, versus 63 % of comparable fields where late spring crops were planted in 8 of the 10 years. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017.

Loboda T.1 , Krankina O.2 , Savin I. 3 , Kurbanov E.4 , Hall J.1
Springer International Publishing
  • 1 Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States
  • 2 College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States
  • 3 Department of Agriculture, Peoples Friendship University, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 4 Centre of Sustainable Forest Management and Remote Sensing, Volga State University of Technology, Yoshkar-Ola, Russian Federation
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