Radu SĂGEATĂ, PhD
Abstract. “A characteristic feature of Ukrainian natural territorial complexes is their landscape-typological diversity and intricate spatial pattern. This is a consequence of: the country’s location within three physico-geographical macroregions (East European Plain, Ukrainian Carpathians, Crimean Mountains) and four latitudinal zones; a specific vertical zonality in the mountains; a complex geological build-up (the presence of different geostructures and formations from various geological times); spatial differentiation of recent crucial movements; the origin of landscapes, i.e. an inheritance of relic landscapes from ancient glaciations; and a perpetual transformation of natural landscapes under the impact of human activity. The East European Plain is dominated by plain landscapes occupying over 94% of the country’s territory, whereas mountainous landscapes are typical of the Ukrainian Carpathians and Crimean Mountain. Zonality is a primarily characteristic feature of plain landscapes. Examples of various natural zones of the Earth’s temperate belt are found in Ukraine: mixed coniferous-deciduous forests, broad-leaved forests, forest steppes and steppes. Major factor decisive in the types of zonality are heat, moisture balance and the parent rocks the soils have been formed upon. Recently, Ukrainian geographers have come to the conclusion that broad-leaved forests in the west of the country are the continuation of a similar kind of woodland zone extending from Western Europe. Mountainous landscapes occupy over 5% of the country’s territory and the distribution shows a vertical zonality. In the Ukrainian Carpathians forests prevail: Oak is dominant on the foothills; a prevalence of beech on low mountains; fir mixing with beech and meadow landscapes on middle mountains; pine with shrubs at the sub-alpine level; and grass vegetation with shrubs at alpine level. Examining the landscape structure of the Crimean Mountains, forest-meadow landscapes can be observed with mixed coniferous-deciduous forests, karst ladscapes on the yaila, and subtropical landscapes of Mediterranean type along the southern coasts. A fundamental principle of classification and typology in modern landscape science is an approach which considers the genesis of a landscape as the first step, further taking into account geophysical and geochemical properties, and current physico-geographical processes. Human activity has had a major impact on changes in the composition of natural landscapes over the course of Ukraine’s history. Farming, sylviculture, amelioration measures, various industrial activities (with a special reference of mining), the emergence of settlements, hydrotechnical construction, and the development of transport networks, recreational facilities and warfare have caused the most significant and far-reaching effects. Landscapes that have remained intact, or have been transformed only slightly occupy some 15-20% of the country’s territory” (Kocsis et al., Ukraine in Maps, 2008, p. 44-46). “Ukraine has a favourable natural environment for the development of farming, which has been the traditional occupation of the rural population since ancient times. The percentage of land that is classed as agriculturally productive is well above of the European average. 86% of the country’s territory or 56 million hectares (representing 15.8% of Europe’s productive land area, excluding Russia) is potentially cultivable. This remarkable potential for farming is due to the frequent occurrence of loess covered plains and uplands, and the high fertility soils that have developed upon them. High quality chernozems are found over three quarters of Ukraine, which is the highest percentage for any country on earth. With respect to the area of potentially cultivable land, measured per capita (0.67 ha/pers.) Ukraine is second to none in Europe… The agricultural potential of the country is insufficiently utilised due to inferior technology and poor economic conditions. Further progress in the farming sector is also being curbed by a series of unresolved issues relating to the land reform, the lack of financial and technological support for agriculture, disparities between prices for industrial commodities and farming produce, and slow social progress in rural settlements. All these have led to a depreciation of fixed assets, decline in production volumes and to the decrease in the productivity of labour” (Idem, p. 117).
Cuvinte cheie: criză agroalimentară mondială, conflict armat, inflaţie, Rusia, Ucraina