The current state of abandoned lands in the northern forest-steppe zone at the Republic of Bashkortostan (Southern Ural, Russia)

Abstract

This paper presents the results of the state of postagrogenic ecosystems (18-20 years after the land was taken out of crop rotation) in the northern forest-steppe zone, Republic of Bashkortostan (South Ural) where soil cover is represented by postagrogenic gray-humus soils (Regosols). Probably, the unfavorable physical and agrochemical soil properties were a limiting factor in obtaining a profitable crop yield, and it was a reason for the withdrawal of land from agricultural use. Eighteen to twenty years since agricultural fields were taken out of crop rotation, a diverse vegetation cover has formed on postagrogenic soils. Analysis of the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) showed that more than 50% of the territory is covered by average and high vegetation development (low-grass meadows and forest communities). The active renewal of natural vegetation is conducted in the studied territory, which develops under the influence of zonal type vegetation and is in the transition stage from ruderal communities to low-grass meadows and different-aged secondary forests with domination of broad-leaved and light-coniferous tree species. The low content of organic carbon and basic nutrients in postagrogenic soils, at this stage of restoration, does not influence the formation and diversity of vegetation cover. However, vegetation continues to suffer the consequences of long-term agricultural use (mainly mechanical impact), resulting in a well-defined mosaic of vegetation communities, the poverty of the floristic composition and the presence of perennial weed species occurring in high abundance. It is better to maintain the land abandoned to further improve soil properties and reduce erosion.

https://doi.org/10.3232/SJSS.2020.V10.N1.03
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