Development of agroecosystems under climate change in Western Polissya, Ukraine

Abstract

Z. Z. Sobko, N. M. Vozniuk, O. A. Likho, A. M. Pryshchepa, Z. M. Budnik, O. I. Hakalo, V. P. Skyba

New agricultural operations using intensive technologies more and more intensify processes of soil cover degradation, which are substantially accelerated due to climate changes. Climate is the primary factor that determines agricultural productivity. Due to the significant increase of air temperature in winter months, the temporal shift of development of natural processes, prolongation of frost-free period and duration of vegetation period for crops, there happens a change of agroclimatic conditions of growth, development, and productivity of crops. The purpose of this article is to present the results of a study of peculiarities of agroecosystems state formation in the Western Polissya region of Ukraine under effects of climate change and to determine agroecological consequences of such changes.  The study was performed in conditions of the Rivne region (oblast) located within the Western Polissya region of Ukraine. Climate changes have enabled growing non-typical Western Polissya warm-weather crops, including early- and late-ripening sunflower varieties. During the last five years, sunflower yields in the Rivne region are 19% greater than average yields in Ukraine and 39% greater than average yields in southern regions of Ukraine, for which this agricultural crop is typical. Thanks to sufficient water availability, plantings do not require irrigation, which substantially decreases costs. At the same time, much greater washing out of organic compounds and nutrients from the soil. An increase of sunflower cultivation area displaces traditional cereal cultures will aggravate the disbalance of agroecosystems of Ukrainian Western Polissya, promote further development of degradation processes, and impede agrosystems self-recovery and self-regulation. According to prognosis results, we estimated that it is necessary to maintain a balanced approach to growing crops (first of all, the new warm-season ones, which have appeared in the structure of planted areas due to climate change). We also suggest changing their growing techniques, as it is impossible to obtain high productivity with no environmental damage just thanks to climate changes, without maintaining an ecological balance in the agroecosystems.

Keywords: climate change, agroecosystems, sustained development, sunflower, crop yield, agroecological soil state, soil degradation, prognosis.
 

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