How Natural and Positional Factors Influenced Land-Use Change During the Last 250 Years in Temperate Russia

  • Victor M. MatasovEmail author
Part of the Landscape Series book series (LAEC, volume 26)


The analysis of spatial and temporal dynamics of the land-use structure in the Meschera Lowland since the late eighteenth century has been realized considering the contributions of natural and positional factors. The “natural” factors refer to the land’s agricultural suitability characterized by drainage, soil fertility, erosion, etc. The “positional” ones mean distance to rivers, villages, roads. Three study sites, located in the Ryazan region (central European Russia) in differing natural conditions (same climate, but different sediments and waterlogging) were selected for study. The land-use structure was analyzed using the maps created from General Land Survey maps (the eighteenth century), Atlas Mende maps (the nineteenth century), satellite imagery Corona (the twentieth century) and modern satellite images (the twenty-first century). These were matched up in GIS with landscape maps bound to georeferenced topographic maps considering features of the landscape. Quantitative analysis of land-use distribution across natural landscape patterns and its remoteness from social infrastructure showed that in the regions where economic activity is strongly limited by natural conditions, the structure of land use remains practically unchanged for a long time.


Long-term land-use change Historical maps Landscape structure Natural and positional factors 



This research was conducted according to the State target for Lomonosov Moscow State University “Structure, functioning and evolution of natural and natural-anthropogenic geosystems” (project no. АААА-А16-116032810081-9).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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