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Environmental landscapes map

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Environment resources: ecological resources of landscapes in the Baikal basin

This package contains small-scale overview maps with the most common patterns of ecological resources of landscapes in the Baikal basin. The definition “ecological resource”, which is identical to the definition “ecological potential”, means the ability of landscapes to provide people with all necessary conditions for existence, i.e. to create specific local environment.

The structure of the map package was developed as applicable to the solution of practical problems of information support of regional programmes on rational use and protection of natural landscapes. The information base of the package consists of literature sources [Geosystems …, 1991; Isachenko, 1990; Mikheev, 1987, 1988; Polikarpov et al., 1980; Sochava, 2005], cartographic material [Atlas …, 2004; National Atlas …, 1990; Correlation …, 1977; Landscapes …, 1977; Eco-geographic …, 1996] and Internet resources.

 

Landscape-ecological complexes

This map is a mosaic of 16 structural landscape subdivisions belonging to 2 subcontinents (Northern and Central Asia) and 3 types of natural conditions (arctic-boreal, semiarid and arid) [Geosystems …, 1991].

Typological classification of landscapes (goletz, subgoletz, upper taiga, taiga, subtaiga and steppe) reflects altitude-zonal differentiation of environmental conditions, as well as depression and piedmont effects of their manifestation. Regional range of landscapes classification (Baikal-Dzhugdzhurskiye, South-Siberian, Central Asian, Khangaisko-Daurskiye, Srednekhalkhasko-Mongolian) includes sector differentiation of environmental conditions formed under the influence of prevailing air masses of different direction (mainly western and eastern transfer), as well as interpenetration and uniqueness of natural phenomena in the basin of Lake Baikal.

According to the material and energy exchange, the North-Asian goletz, taiga and subtaiga landscapes are subdivided into subgroups of natural conditions: extreme, reduced, limited and optimal development. South-Siberian and Central Asian steppe landscapes are subdivided into arid, dry and very dry landscapes depending on moisture supply of these landscapes.

The legend of the map also presents numerical values of integral intensity of landscape functioning (heat and moisture supply of landscapes and plant biological productivity) [Eco-geographic …, 1996]:

- heat supply (total mean daily temperatures over 10ºC): cold (600-800ºC), moderately cold (800-1200 ºC), moderately warm (1200-1600 ºC) and warm (1600-2000 ºC);

- moisture supply (radiation dryness index according to M. Budyko): perhumid (less than 0.5), humid (0.5-0.9),  subhumid (1.0-1.4), insufficiently humid (1.5-1.9), dry (2.0-2.4), and very dry (over 2.5);

- plant biological productivity (annual growth of plants at appropriate values of heat and moisture expressed in dry mass of organic matter of terrestrial and underground parts of plants): very low (less than 20 metric centners/ha), low (20-40 metric centners/ha), mean (40-60 metric centners/ha), elevated (60-80 metric centners/ha), and high (over 80 metric centners/ha).

This map is used as an interpretation basis for the development of derived assessment and recommendation maps of the environment.

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Environmental potential map

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Ecological landscape potential (ELP)

The map characterises the ability of landscapes to create specific local human environment. It was compiled on the basis of ecological interpretation of landscape characteristics and consequent zoning of the Baikal basin taking into account comfort level of landscapes for human activity.

The ratio of heat and moisture supply of landscapes, as well as productivity of their plant (low, moderate, elevated, and high), was used to indicate ecological comfort of landscapes (lack of heat, excess of moisture, etc.).

Relative estimating categories (very low, low, moderate, high, and very high) are used for ELP characterisation. In the map legend, they are correlated with factors of integral functioning intensity.

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Environmental protection infrastructure map

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Environment-protective infrastructure

The environment-protection infrastructure (EPI) is a component of ecological infrastructure and the most important sector of the current economic complex of the territory. The basic function of the EPI is to minimize the effect on the environment of deposited and utilized wastes (on the territory), discharges (into water bodies), production and consumer emissions (into the atmosphere), provided there is a developed selective (separate) collection of the secondary material resources. The EPI activity helps preserve a favorable environment for humans and use the territory’s resources in a rational manner. This map reflects only the EPI that deals with solid production and consumer wastes, with the latter often referred to as “municipal wastes” in the international practice.

The database includes the data of territorial offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia, the Russian governmental report on the state of Lake Baikal and measures for its protection (2013), Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism of Mongolia (2012), as well as project materials of regional development initiatives. It should be noted that the register of sites for storing (stockpiling or deposition) and burying of production and consumer wastes for individual regions is far from complete (based on  Form 2-TP (Wastes)).

In the Baikal catchment zone (in the lower level administrative districts of the Russian part and aimags in Mongolia), the annual volume of production and consumer waste reaches about 86 million tons. The majority of these wastes goes to the EPI facilities of production enterprises (sludge dumps, tailings ponds, mining waste piles, slag and ash dumps, etc.) and municipalities (predominantly waste dumps and landfills). The official statistics recorded over 600 sites for depositing waste. There is a waste recycling plant (WRP) in Ulan-Ude. There are plans to build three more WRPs (Irkutsk, Ulaanbaatar, and the Special Economic Zone “Baikal Harbor” in the Republic of Buryatia), a waste sorting plant in Chita (Zabaikalsky krai), and several waste collection facilities for processing waste from ships on Lake Baikal.

The total volume of production and consumer waste generation in the Baikal basin is growing annually. The leader is Zabaikalsky krai with almost 2/3 of all registered wastes in the Baikal basin. Irkutsk oblast is leading in terms of the speed of waste generation per unit of Gross Regional Product (tons/million rubles). In terms of the number of registered EPI facilities and their area, Mongolia tops the list, with Buryatia being the second, which corresponds to the territory they occupy in the Baikal basin. The average size of EPI facilities of municipalities and aimags is 4.3 hectares. The size of EPI facilities of Mongolian aimags (6.3 ha) exceeds this indicator by almost 1.5 times, while the size of such facilities in Irkutsk oblast exceeds the average by 1.3 times. There are plans to restart the selective (separate) collection of the utilized portion of generated consumer wastes in the future, which will significantly reduce the size of authorized waste dumps and landfills, as well as numerous unauthorized landfills of solid consumer wastes.

By the structure of economic activity, mining wastes and wastes generated by the thermal power sector make up the largest share in the total volume of generated waste (in Zabaikalsky krai, Irkutsk oblast, and Buryatia their share is over 90%). Wastes of mining companies weighing millions of tons, as well as construction wastes, slag, and ash are classified as Class V by their hazard impact on the environment (not dangerous or low-hazard wastes).

 

Reference:

Rosgeolfond. Siberian Branch. (2013). On the state of Lake Baikal and measures for its protection in 2012: State report. Irkutsk: Rosgeolfond. p 436.

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