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Publisher: Springer-Verlag (Total: 2562 journals)

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 Arid EcosystemsJournal Prestige (SJR): 0.2 Number of Followers: 3      Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles) ISSN (Print) 2079-0961 - ISSN (Online) 2079-0988 Published by Springer-Verlag  [2562 journals]
• Influence of Temperature Stress in Arid Conditions on Protein Degradation
Enzymes in Rodent Digestive Organs
• Abstract: The activity of protein degradation enzymes in rodents under temperature stresses caused by a body temperature rise (hyperthermia) up to 42°С is studied under the conditions of hyperarid regions of arid territories. The heat stress was induced in a special chamber; water at a temperature necessary to raise or lower the body temperature passed through the chamber casing. Regardless of body temperature, the activity of neutral proteases (ANPs) of the liver decreases in both cases. The mechanisms leading to a decrease in ANP with an increase in body temperature are different, since the degree of decreased enzyme activity in this case is several times higher than with low-temperature stress. With hyperthermia, the ANP of all grades of thermal regime is significantly reduced, both in comparison with the control and with hypothermia, except for the incubation temperature of 10°C. The changes occurring in the rodent (in the liver) are evidence of the degree of influence of arid climatic conditions on the adaptability of the considered animals to climate warming.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Southern Migration Route and Wintering Grounds of the Common Crane of
Dubna Premigratory Gathering
• Abstract: The transformation of arid ecosystems into agricultural lands around natural and man-made water reservoirs has led to the formation of large gatherings on the migration routes and wintering grounds of common cranes nesting in the center of the European part of Russia. The marking of the cranes of Dubna premigratory gathering with color rings made it possible to find birds during wintering in Israel in the Hula valley. The tracking of the marked cranes made it possible to find key areas on migration routes for the purposes of their conservation, as well as other possible locations of cranes from Dubna premigratory gatherings in Moscow Region and adjacent areas. The last one is especially important due to a reduction in the area of Dubna gathering and a decrease in the protective and fodder quality of this land.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Anthropogenic Transformation of Kyzyl-Yar Lake in Crimea: Multiyear
Research Findings
• Abstract: Most of the hypersaline lakes located in the arid part of the Crimea have been undergoing anthropogenic transformations. We concentrate on the impact of the established water storage reservoir on the marine Kyzyl-Yar Lake (Western Crimea) over the period from 1985 to 2017. As a result of water seepage from the reservoir, the lake salinity decreased from 162 g/L in 1985 to 2–3 g/L in 2005 and subsequently remained steady at this level. Over 20 years, the lake changed from a hypersaline to freshwater lake. The accompanying changes included an altered ratio of ion concentrations in the water column and interstitial waters and increased Ca2+/Na+ and $${{{\text{SO}}_{4}^{{2 - }}} \mathord{\left/ {\vphantom {{{\text{SO}}_{4}^{{2 - }}} {{\text{C}}{{{\text{l}}}^{ - }}}}} \right. \kern-0em} {{\text{C}}{{{\text{l}}}^{ - }}}}$$ indicators. Substantial shifts occurred in the structure of the biological diversity and conditions of the bottom deposits, such as the disappearance of branchipoda crustaceans of the genus Artemia, which had been practically the only representative of the local fauna before, and the dominance of new species Cladocera and Cyclopoida in plankton.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• The Current State of Medical Plants of Northern Tien Shan (in the Eastern
Part of the Northern Macroslope of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Ridge and
Chymyndy-Sai River Basin)
• Abstract: A complex of geobotanical characteristics is given for northern Tien Shan phytocenoses, in which medical plants occur. The current state of dominant species in communities is assessed, and the following medical plants are considered: Veratrum lobelianum, Origanum vulgare, Aconitum leucostomum, Artemisia santolinifolia, Hypericum perforatum, and Inula grandis.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Landscape Changes during the Pleistocene–Holocene Transition and Range
Dynamics of Large Herbivorous Mammals of Northern Asia
• Abstract: This work studies the effect of the reduction of steppe and tundra landscapes in Northern Asia during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene climatic changes on the ranges of large herbivorous mammals. The relationship between a complex of characteristics of herbivore species and their landscape was evaluated. It is found that not only the Mongolian gazelle, saiga, and musk ox, but also the snow sheep, the ancestors of domestic sheep and goats, and probably the Amur goral may reduced their ranges during the late Quaternary landscape changes. The widening of the range of the sika deer, as well as the range of the Siberian musk deer associated exclusively with forest landscapes, can be explained by a reduction of open landscapes. Any significant changes in the ranges of roe deer, red deer, reindeer, elk, wild boar, steppe bison, mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, and ancestral and probably related forms of domestic horse and cattle could not be directly caused by landscape changes 17 000–7000 years ago, even if they coincide chronologically.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Effects of River Control and Climate Changes on the Dynamics of the
Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Lower Volga Region
• Abstract: We continued the complex ecological studies in the Lower Volga Region that we started in 2014 in order to investigate the current state of floodplain terrestrial ecosystems and to describe the tendencies in the transformation of the natural environment and the responses of terrestrial ecosystems to changing climate conditions and the influence of anthropogenic factors. The study was conducted with the original two-step method for the estimation of disorders in terrestrial ecosystems after changes in the water content of studied areas. The first step included the determination of possible changes in the water content based on an analysis of long-term annual changes in climatic and hydrological data. The second step included the estimation of disorders in the ecosystems and landscapes based on various biological parameters. We determined the main factors of changes in the abiotic (hydrological and climatic) components of ecosystems in the Lower Volga Region influencing the transformation of landscapes. We described the main causes of changes in a separate component of terrestrial ecosystems related to the increased water flow rate of the winter low-water period and winter runoff, which contribute to a higher level of gleying throughout the entire soil profile and to the degradation of floodplain ecosystems (along with climatic changes).
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Patterns of the Formation of Soil Resource Diversity in Delta Ecosystems
• Abstract: There are numerous studies being carried out in various regions that examine the potential of soil resources and justify the significance of soil resources for food production are being carried out in various regions. The main focus is on the spatial soil parameters, the distribution of soil areas by continents and regions, and the determination of existing soil areas per capita. It is commonly acknowledged that the existing soil areas are exhaustible and geometrically limited. To increase the plant biomass used for food production, it is necessary to research high-priority topics, including the diversity of soil resource categories, primarily, bioproductional resources. They are inexhaustible; their potential is determined by solar energy use and the photosynthetic activity of plants (PAP). The identified patterns of changes in the threshold concentration of nutrients and the fall-to-buildup ratio make it possible to form, subject to the use of fertilizer, a phytocoenosis with the predomination of high-productive forage plants.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• A Technique for Assessment of the State of Shore Ornithocomplexes Based on
the Example of Artificial Reservoirs of the Dry-Steppe Zone in Southern
Russia (Republic of Kalmykia)
• Abstract: We have developed a technique to assess the state of shore ornithocomplexes that can be used for any artificial water bodies to reveal disturbances in their functioning and use. The article presents data on some artificial reservoirs of the dry-steppe zone in the south of the European part of Russia (Republic of Kalmykia). Our research has revealed the main factors of the environmental influence (water factor) on reservoir avifauna and determined the main indicators of assessment (population abundance and density). Analysis of data on the state of shore ornithocomplexes of the steppe reservoir (dynamics of the species diversity, numbers, and abundance of birds of the wetland semiaquatic complex) has shown their dependence on the water factor (reservoir drying/flooding). In light of the increase in anthropogenic impact, it is relevant to consider changes in the biodiversity of the ornithocomplex of some inland reservoirs in Kalmykia, such as Sarpa and Deed-Khulsun, in the period from 2008 to 2015. An environmental characteristic and assessment of the current state of their populations are given according to the developed technique. Recommendations on managing the hydrological regime of reservoirs are given for the maintenance and preservation of bird populations of the wetland semiaquatic complex in these reservoirs.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Biological Bases of Forage Plants under the Conditions of Kalmyk Arid
Lands
• Abstract: The current state of land use in the Republic of Kalmykia is considered. An increase in degraded lands with respect to salinity and erosion is shown. An increase in the species composition of forage crops via the introduction of amaranth is substantiated as a way to increase the productivity of degraded arable lands. The great advantages of amaranth include its high nutritional value and good forage digestibility. Amaranth can be very important as a high-protein forage crop; it provides quality of forage production for the stable development of animal husbandry in the Republic of Kalmykia.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Specific Features of Chestnut Soils in the Southern Basins of Siberia
• Abstract: A long period of freezing and drying of the soil profile and frequent seasonal and daily temperature fluctuations lead to the formation of chestnut soils featuring slightly condensed and developed aliphatic humic acid (HA) chains, which makes the soils unstable. The current environmental condition of chestnut soils confirms this; the area of degraded arable and grazing lands in the Republic of Buryatia is significant. Their location in intermountain basins often results in a high vulnerability to deflation processes, leading to dehumification. This adverse phenomenon is currently amplified by global climate change, which intensifies the aridization rates. The noted complex of factors determines the specific composition of regional phytocoenoses, which are highly ligninoficated and depleted of protein components; this affects the structure of humic substances and determines the number of specific features of the local humus, which is distinct from that in similar soils of other regions.
PubDate: 2018-10-01

• Study of Morphological and Morphometric Characteristics of Tsimlyansk
Reservoir Shores Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and GIS Technologies
• Abstract: A new original method for monitoring the morphological and morphometric characteristics of different types of reservoir shores using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the Agisoftphotoscan software tool is proposed. The application of this methodology is demonstrated based on the example of the shores of the Tsimlyansk Reservoir. The optimal parameters of UAVs for the monitoring of processes on abrasion, landslide, and accumulative shores have been established.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Distribution of Mammals in the Southern Part of European Russia:
Historical and Ecological Analysis Based on Materials from the General
Land Survey
• Abstract: The historical changes in animal distribution in the European territory of Russia have always attracted the interest of specialists. Therefore, the data contained in the Economic Notes to the General Land Survey of the Russian Empire at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries is of great importance. This article presents the results of the analysis of data on the mammalian fauna of the southern provinces of European Russia sampled from the Economic Notes. The sample covers 15 governorates (guberniya), 102 uezds (a secondary level administrative division), and 1150 land holdings (dachas). There were 2395 references made to mammals, including 22 presumptive name references comprising 25 species, 11 families, and 5 orders. Based on the available data on historical changes in the ecological condition within this territory, a comparison with the current situation was made for those species that are the most significant and common in the study area.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Plankton and Bottom Communities in the Saline Rivers of Lake Elton Basin:
Statistical Analysis of Dependences
• Abstract: Hydrological, hydrochemical, and hydrobiological data for five saline rivers of the arid Lake Elton region were analyzed. We found that interactions between plankton and benthic communities, in particular, between macrozoobenthos, meiobenthos and zooplankton, created mixed ecological groups of species. Abundances of plankton and bottom communities significantly correlated, which indicated that there is a close relationship between them due to biotic interactions and their similar responses to the effects of environmental factors. Multidimensional scaling and cluster analyses, the construction of hierarchical trees and species diversity models, the spatial correlation Mantel test, etc., were used to study the structure of communities in strongly disbalanced ecosystems of highly mineralized rivers. Indicator species were established by the TWINSPAN procedure. Our results demonstrated that plankton and bottom communities of the saline rivers can be represented as specific consortia or structural units of the river ecosystems.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Botanical Diversity of the Steppe Plains of the Suhbaatar and Dornogovi
Aimags (Eastern Mongolia)
• Abstract: The botanical diversity of the steppe plains of the Suhbaatar and Dornogovi aimags (eastern Mongolia) is examined on the species and cenotic level and on the basis of the ecofloristic classification. The taxonomic diversity of vascular Embryophyta plants of the observed area is represented by 35 families, 104 genera, and 169 species, which is 51% of the total eastern Mongolia flora families, 36% of its genera, and 25% of its species. The species were assigned to ecocenotic groups by the characteristics of their zonal distribution as follows: 37% of all observed plant species fit into the “dry-steppe” category, 25% are in the “meadow steppe—dry steppe” category, 15% are in the “dry steppe—desertificated steppe” category, 16% are in the “dry steppe—desert” category, and 7% were “widespread.” The syntaxonomical diversity of the observed plains is established by processing geobotanical descriptions by the Braun-Blanquet method and is represented by one class, three alliances, and eight associations reflecting the features of the watershed plain “plakor” vegetation. The selected associations are distinguished by their higher vascular flowering plant species, genera and family diversity, species abundance, grass density, and position in the relief. An indirect indicator of the humidification conditions, which express the relation of plant species inhabiting the outer ranges on the humidification gradient, was developed: plants found in desertified steppes and deserts and plants found in forest steppes. Subzonal affiliations of associations were adjusted in accordance with the value of the indirect indicator.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Vegetation Restoration on Reclaimed Soils on the Peri-Yergenian Plain
(Republic of Kalmykia)
• Abstract: The modern state of vegetation and soils on the Peri-Yergenian plain (northwest Peri-Caspian lowland, the Republic of Kalmykia) have been studied. This area was subjected to deep ameliorative plowing, irrigation, and agroforestry in the 1950–1960s (irrigation ceased in 1971; periodical plowing ceased in 1984). A homogenous soil cover has formed under the conserved tree plantations and on the former irrigated arable lands; however, the morphological and physical and chemical properties of the initial solonetzic soil complex (solonetz and solonetzic light-chestnut soils) have practically been transformed there. The plough layer (0–45 cm) and subsurface layer (50–60 cm) can still be determined there. They are free of salts, and the exchangeable sodium content decreased there. All of these soils belong to one type of deeply saline solonetzic agrozems. The apple orchard died without irrigation 6–7 years after planting. Other trees were only partially preserved in irrigated areas; seed regeneration has been observed only for Elaeagnus angustifolia, Ulmus pumila, and Ribes aureum, and sprouting regeneration has been seen for Pyrus communis. At sites of degraded trees, species of shrubs that were cultivated in the forest belts, as well as local flora, appeared in this area. These communities have greater species richness and larger aboveground phytomass in comparison with the surrounding virgin vegetation. The present species composition and the structure of herbaceous plant communities allow us to conclude that there is a restoration plant succession and that communities typical for virgin chestnut soils with a predominance of Artemisia lerchiana, Tanacetum achilleifolium, and representatives of the family Gramineae (Festuca valesiaca and Stipa lessingiana) have formed. At reclaimed sites without irrigation, the restoration of vegetation leads to the formation of plant communities similar to those observed on virgin solonetz soils.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Trends in Livestock Numbers and Spectral Properties of the Pasture
Surface: Case Study of the Middle Gobi Aimag of Mongolia
• Abstract: The paper analyzes linear correlations between MODIS parameters, i.e., the albedo, surface temperature, NDVI, and evapotranspiration, and with annual livestock numbers on Mongolian pastures for June–August throughout 2000–2015. The degree of association between the annual livestock density and average spectral properties of pastures were determined at the level of the whole country, region (aimag), and district (sum). Linear trends were assessed in the annual livestock density and spectral properties of the pasture surface within the boundaries of the specified administrative units of Mongolia. The total density and density with consideration for a structure of the livestock population within the stated territories are weakly related to the average spectral parameters of the pasture surfaces for the territories. The exception is Gurvansaikhan district, in which the relationships are significant; an increase in livestock density increases the albedo, decreases NDVI, and eventually reduces the forage reserve. The R2 coefficients of determination reveal insignificant linear trends in albedo, NDVI, and evapotranspiration as opposed to a significant positive trend in livestock density. A cooling trend and decreased precipitation was evident in 2000–2015. In the years of a sharp drop in livestock density (2000 and 2010), the spectral characteristics of pastures exhibit insignificant departures from the trend line, i.e. their sensitivity to a sharp drop in livestock numbers is minimal in the present situation.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Accumulation of Heavy Metals by Forb Steppe Vegetation According to
Long-Term Monitoring Data
• Abstract: The steppes of the northern Azov Region are extremely favorable for agriculture. Thus, the foremost problem is the cultivation of ecologically safe products under conditions of technogenic pollution. We have studied the effect of aerotechnogenic emissions on the accumulation of heavy metals (HMs) in haplic chernozem, haplic chernozem (stagnic), and calcaric fluvic arenosol and steppe plants Poa pratensis L. and Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski. of the families Poaceae and Achillea nobilis L. and Artemisia austriaca Jacq. of the family Asteraceae) according to the data from 17 years of monitoring. The accumulation of Pb, Zn, Cd, Cu, Mn, Cr, and Ni in soils and plants under the effect of power plant emissions has been established. The proportion of loosely bound compounds of heavy metals in the polluted soils is 28–52% of the total content. In the monitored plots with the highest technogenic load, the content of Pb, Cd, Cr, and Ni in the studied plants exceeds the maximum permissible level for forage. It has been revealed that HM accumulation in the aboveground part of plants and their roots depends on the amount of pollutants and the biological features of each species. The plant species of the family Poaceae accumulate less microelements in their aboveground part than Asteraceae.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Role of Biotic and Abiotic Factors in the Processes of Soil Encrustation
on Fallow Lands of the Barguzin Hollow
• Abstract: The results of a study on the condition of the soil and vegetative cover of the fallow lands in steppe ecosystems of the Barguzin Hollow (Republic of Buryatia) are presented. We studied the soil encrustation process on fallow lands during moss–lichen cover formation on their surface, which resulted in the slowing of regenerative processes in plant communities. The main factors of the transformation of regeneration in the Barguzin Hollow were revealed. They differ from the classical scheme of restoration of plant communities that had been earlier identified for the fallow lands of the steppe zone of Kazakhstan, Southern Siberia, and Mongolia.
PubDate: 2018-07-01

• Influences of Physiographic Factors, Vegetation Patterns and Human Impacts
on Aeolian Landforms in Arid Environment
• Abstract: During the last few decades, the inland and coastal aeolian landforms of southern Kuwait showed severe land degradation and deterioration of plant cover due to human impacts such as spring camping, offroad driving and overgrazing. This study aimed to quantify the edaphic conditions and vegetation composition of the main types of aeolian landforms in the southern desert of Kuwait and to investigate the effects of vegetation, climate, physiography and impacts of anthropogenic activities on the features and stability of aeolian sand deposits and subsequently land degradation and vegetation loss. This study classified the southern aeolian deposits into four main landforms: inland active sand sheets, inland stable sand sheets, coastal stable sand sheets and coastal stable sabkhas. These landforms are mostly influenced with soil texture, moisture content, organic matter, salinity, vegetation cover, wind strength and intensity of land use. A total of 46 plant species in 23 families was found in these landforms. Poaceae species dominated the vegetation of inland active and stable sand sheets; however Asteraceae and Chenopodiacea species dominated the vegetation of coastal stable sand sheets and coastal sabkhas. Therefore, the growth of these species in hot deserts is adaptive to the accumulation of wind-borne sediments within or around their canopies. Annuals and perennial herbs were the dominant growth forms in the aeolian landforms. The Shannon-diversity of the plant species was lower at inland stable sand sheets than at inland active sand sheets, coastal stable sand sheets and coastal stable sabkhas. The dominant perennials were Cyperus conglomeratus, Stipagrostis ciliata and Moltkiopsis ciliata at inland aeolian landforms, and Zygophyllum qatarense, Salsola imbricate, Suaeda aegyptiaca, Cyperus conglomeratus and Launaea mucronata, Suaeda vermiculata, Lycium shawii and Halocnemum strobilaceum at coastal aeolian landforms. The dominant annuals were Schismus barbatus at inland aeolian landforms and Polycarpaea repens, Schismus barbatus, and Cornulaca aucheri at coastal aeolian landforms. Deterioration of plant cover, decline in sub-shrubs and shrubs, lacking of trees and severe land degradation in the inland and coastal aeolian landforms of southern Kuwait are attributed to human impacts. Effective management plan for human activities and restoration program for degraded aeolian landforms may include prohibitions of human activities that adversely affect native plant communities, planting of certain native perennial species efficient in trapping sands and stabilization of aeolian landforms, such as Poaceae species and Chenopodiaceae species. In addition, awareness programs and participation of local inhabitants are crucial measures to guarantee successful of restoration plan.
PubDate: 2018-04-01

• On the Relic Phenomena and Influence of Volcanic Rocks on Vegetation of
Mountain Steppes in Southern Siberia
• Abstract: The influence of volcanic rocks, namely, the Cretacious–Tertiary trachybasalt deposits of the Tamchinsky volcano, on the vegetation of mountain steppes in southern Siberia under the conditions of western Transbaikalia has been established. It is shown that weather-resistant basalts, which are highly various in terms of their geochemical composition, have served as a basis for the formation of unique mountain-steppe communities with the development of peculiar plant life forms. A floristic complex of rosette herbaceous polycarpics combined with sod grasses (Potentilla sericea, Chamaerhodos altaica, Pulsatilla turczaninovii, Silene jenisseensis, Amblynotus rupestris, Festuca lenensis, Aster alpinus, etc.) has been revealed; they form phytocenotically determined synusiae in the studied phytocenoses. It has been established that the Tamchinsky basalt field is a refugium for relics of different times. They include preglacial relics, namely, populations of semishrub wormwoods, Artemisia rutifolia and A. messerschmidtiana. A close affinity between A. gmelinii and A. messerschmidtiana has been proven, taking into account the ecological and morphological and phytochemical data. An increased geochemical background of elements (Ba, Sr, V, Zr, and U) promoted not only the conservation of relic plants but also the morphogenesis of endemic species, peashrub and iris.
PubDate: 2018-04-01

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