Spatial structure of steppe and forest-covered areas in the Shakhtersk district of the Donetsk People's Republic

Author(s):  Andrey A. Blackburn, candidate of Sciences, associate Professor, Donetsk Botanical Garden, Donetsk, Donetsk people's Republic, senior researcher of the Department of natural flora and conservation,

Andrey L. Zolotoy, no, no, Public Institution «Donetsk Botanical Garden», Donetsk, Donetsk people's Republic, post-graduate student of the Department of natural flora and conservation,

Issue:  Volume 44, № 1

Rubric:  Earth sciences

Annotation:  In order to identify priority parts of the Donetsk region for the formation of a regional ecological network, an assessment is given of the spatial structure of the mutual arrangement of the two main types of its natural territories – steppe and forested areas within the boundaries of the Shakhtersk administrative region. The entire territory of the region, divided evenly into square areas (sized 7×7 km), was evaluated from the viewpoint of the ratio of steppe and forest-covered areas within them. A cluster analysis of the distribution of square areas over the steppe and forest sites, given the general ambiguity of the pattern of grouping squares by these parameters, demonstrate the overall prevalence of squares with a large participation of steppe plots, which confirms the «steppe» character of this part of the region. Analysis of the distribution of squares over the size range of steppe, forest areas, and the total of steppe and forest plots show that squares with small and large size ranges predominate for steppe plots; squares with a small size range predominate for forest plots in the Shakhtersk region. For a total of steppe and forest-covered territories, the number of squares exponentially increases with an increase in their size range and decreases sharply only for size areas exceeding 2000 ha. Geographic analysis indicates that, in general, squares with large ranges of natural territories prevail in the peripheral parts of the region, especially in its eastern part. The squares with a significant predominance of steppe sites are located mainly on the peripheral parts of the Shakhtersky district – in the western and southwestern, south and especially in its eastern part. Squares with a significant predominance of forest areas (mainly large forests) predominate mainly in the transition zone between the center and the eastern part of the district, as well as in the south and east of this district. All this testifies to the high ecological network potential of the Shakhtersky district, since sections of its territory with an increased concentration of both steppe and forest areas should undoubtedly enter the structure of the ecological network of the entire region.

Keywords:  Shakhtersk district of the Donetsk region (DPR), steppe and forest-covered areas, spatial structure, ecological network, square of natural territories.

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