Balancing Trade-Offs Between Agriculture and Biodiversity in the Steppes of Kazakhstan

The breakdown of the Soviet Union and the subsequent decline of agriculture has created opportunities for restoring steppes and their biodiversity in Kazakhstan. At the same time, agricultural holdings started to recover recently, leading to the expansion of both pasture and cropland. Conservation and land-use planners face two major challenges in this regard: (i) Abandoned agricultural areas may not easily revert to natural steppes because of the complex interactions of land-use history, grazing and fire, and (ii) considerable interest in reclaiming currently unused cropland may cause substantial conflicts between conservation and agricultural production goals. Because trade-offs between agriculture and conservation likely occur spatially diverse, there is considerable potential for land-use and conservation planning to lessen these conflicts at the landscape scale. Improved planning will allow making use of opportunities to balance agricultural development and biodiversity conservation, but this requires better knowledge about the spatial patterns and future trajectories of abandoned lands, the impacts of abandonment on biodiversity, and the trade-offs between agricultural production and biodiversity.

Principal Investigators
Kümmerle, Tobias Prof. Dr. rer. nat. (Details) (Biogeography)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2015
End date: 01/2019

Research Areas

Research Areas
Fernerkundung, Geographie, Landschaftsökologie, land use change

Dara, A., Baumann, M., Freitag, M., Hölzel, N., Hostert, P., Kamp, J., Müller, D., Prishchepov, A.V., & Kuemmerle, T. (2020). Annual Landsat time series reveal post-Soviet changes in grazing pressure. Remote Sensing of Environment, 239, 111667.

Dara, A., Baumann, M., Hölzel, N., Hostert, P., Kamp, J., Müller, D., Ullrich, B., & Kuemmerle, T. (2019). Post-Soviet Land-Use Change Affected Fire Regimes on the Eurasian Steppes. Ecosystems.

Dara, A., Baumann, M., Kuemmerle, T., Pflugmacher, D., Rabe, A., Griffiths, P., Hölzel, N., Kamp, J., Freitag, M., & Hostert, P. (2018). Mapping the timing of cropland abandonment and recultivation in northern Kazakhstan using annual Landsat time series. Remote Sensing of Environment, 213, 49–60.

Kamp, J., Koshkin, M.A., Bragina, T.M., Katzner, T.E., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Schreiber, D., Sheldon, R., Shmalenko, A., Smelansky, I., Terraube, J., & Urazaliev, R. (2016). Persistent and novel threats to the biodiversity of Kazakhstan’s steppes and semi-deserts. Biodiversity and Conservation, 25, 2521–2541.

Koshkina, A., Grigoryeva, I., Tokarsky, V., Urazaliyev, R., Kuemmerle, T., Hölzel, N., & Kamp, J. (2019). Marmots from space: assessing population size and habitat use of a burrowing mammal using publicly available satellite images. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 5, 36.

Kraemer, R., Prishchepov, A.V., Müller, D., Kuemmerle, T., Radeloff, V.C., Dara, A., Terekhov, A., & Frühauf, M. (2015). Long-term agricultural land-cover change and potential for cropland expansion in the former Virgin Lands area of Kazakhstan. Environmental Research Letters, 10, 54012.

Hankerson, B.R., Schierhorn, F., Prishchepov, A.V., Dong, C., Eisfelder, C., & Müller, D. (2019). Modeling the spatial distribution of grazing intensity in Kazakhstan. PLoS ONE, 14, e0210051.

Baumann, M; Kamp. J., Pötzschner, J., Bleyhl, B., Data, A., Hankerson, B., Prishchepov, A.V., Schierhorn, F., Müller, D., Hölzel, N., Urazaliyev, R., Kuemmerle, T.: Declining human pressure and opportunities for rewilding in the steppes of Eurasia. In review

Last updated on 2021-03-08 at 14:39