GIS-modeling and mapping for sustainable development of mountain regions

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About the Authors

Alexey N. Gunya

Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Staromonetny per. 29, 119017, Moscow,

Evgenii Yu. Kolbovsky

Lomonosov Moscow State University,
GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991,

Umar T. Gairabekov

Chechen State University,
Grozny, 364093, ul. Sheripova 32,


The elaboration of the sustainable regional development concepts for mountain areas requires special attention to the specifics of the formation and existence of society in the areas of the surrounding landscape. The close connection between natural conditions, inherited unique types of environmental management and rooted forms of self-government in the mountains continues to be maintained even under the pressure of global modernization. Therefore, any efforts undertaken in the direction of general and sectoral types of planning should be based on a preliminary study and modeling of the essence of the relationship between nature and the society of mountains.

It seems appropriate to identify the following basic properties of mountainous areas, which, on the one hand, are crucial for the sustainable development of regions, on the other hand, can be characterized using GIS modeling and mapping: 1) GIS-modeling of the «highlands features» of the region and the specifics of mountain landscapes, in particular the delimitation of the boundaries of high-altitude belts (the lower boundary of the mountain region, the upper ecotone’s boundaries between the tree vegetation and alpine meadows, etc.); 2) reflection of the polystructural and fractal properties of natural (landscapes, watersheds) and socio-cultural (cultural landscapes, groups of settlements, areals of subethnoses) entities; 3) assessment of the capacity and resistance (tolerance) of mountain natural and inherited cultural landscapes, identification of different risks and limitations of economic growth and development; 4) analysis of the mountain landscapes dynamics, both spatial, manifested in the transformation of altitudinal belts and shifts of the boundaries of ecotones, and “chronostructural” expressed in changes of typical seasonal and multiyear conditions; 5) selection of adequate parameters to characterize the specifics of mountain areas in the “mountain—plain” dichotomy.

Therefore, GIS-modeling based on “big data” and allowing, on the one hand, to update our understanding of the landscapes of the North Caucasus, their state and modern dynamics, on the other hand, to describe a reliable picture of economic management, and first of all—the true mosaic of land use and resource distribution. The representation of trends in the average annual dynamics of landscapes will allow to correctly assess the potential and resistance of natural landscapes, as well as the state and availability of rehabilitation for abandoned cultural landscapes in the high belt of mountains. The integration of such parameters can be carried out within the framework of various matrices of operational-territorial units, the most important of which is the matrix of river watersheds, which allows to directly record changes in the material-energy flows that control the functioning of mountain landscapes.

The example of the Chechen Republic illustrates the possibilities of GIS-modelling and mapping in solving problems of sustainable development.


mountain areas, sustainable development, Chechen Republic, landscape mapping, GIS-modeling and mapping.


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For citation: Gunya A.N., Kolbovsky E.Yu., Gairabekov U.T. GIS-modeling and mapping for sustainable development of mountain regions InterCarto. InterGIS. GI support of sustainable development of territories: Proceedings of the International conference. Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2019. V. 25. Part 1. P. 47–65. DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2019-1-25-47-65