Experience of using carthographic methods and GIS in the design of biosphere reserve “Elton”


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About the Authors

Irina J. Kalioujnaia

Faculty of Geography, Moscow State University,
Russia, 119991, Moscow, Leninskiye Gory 1,
E-mail: kalioujnaia@yandex.ru

Nina S. Kalioujnaia

NGO Regional Centre for Biodiversity Study & Conservation,
Russia, 4000079, Volgograd, Nikitina str. 131–58,
E-mail: nskrcb@yandex.ru

Harald J.L. Leummens

The Netherlands, Heerlen,
Independent expert,
E-mail: harald.leummens@gmail.com


Paper presents the research results on a study conducted to support the spatial planning of the perspective Elton Biosphere Reserve (Elton BR) (Russia, Volgograd region), applying the UNESCO biosphere reserve concept as regional model for sustainable development.

The principles and approaches of zoning a perspective BR are proposed, considering the requirements of the legislative framework of the Worldwide Network of BR, the environmental value of the territory and the existing structure of land use. Using cartographic and geo-information methods in conjunction with quantitative information from prior studies allowed to analyze a large amount of spatial data comprehensively characterizing the study area, including the distribution of key plant and animal species and their habitats.

The resulting zonation scheme proposed for the perspective Elton BR is an almost ideally-concentric model of spatial differentiation, chosen as the most appropriate one following a participatory planning process. Compared to the already existing Elton Nature Park, the total area under protection in the perspective Elton Biosphere Reserve is envisioned to double, expanding coverage of the Lake Elton catchment basin from 60 % to 75 %. The resulting size and zonation scheme of the perspective Elton BR—covering in total about 207 000 hectares, of which 18 % core zone, 14 % buffer zone and 68 % transition zone—are sufficient to sustainably perform the biosphere functions of conservation, development and logistic support.

The cartographic analysis also allowed to identify and map the main habitat types in the BR area. Of the 20 main habitat types highlighted on the map, 13 are of Pan-European importance and require special measures of protection, including a variety of permanent and seasonal saline and brackish wetlands, salt, calcareous and sandy desert steppes, depression meadows, gully deciduous thickets, etc.

The comparative analysis of the zonation scheme with the spatial distribution of key habitat types confirms the importance of the proposed Elton BR to contribute to the conservation of the unique saline Lake Elton and surrounding desert steppes, ecosystems of Pan-European importance which remain insufficiently represented in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.


biosphere reserve, Elton Nature Park, Lake Elton, cartography, GIS.


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For citation: Kalioujnaia I.J., Kalioujnaia N.S., Leummens H.J.L. Experience of using carthographic methods and GIS in the design of biosphere reserve “Elton” InterCarto. InterGIS. GI support of sustainable development of territories: Proceedings of the International conference. Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2019. V. 25. Part 1. P. 337–351. DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2019-1-25-337-351