The research is relevant as protective forest belts play an important role in the extreme climatic conditions of Southern Ukraine. The reclamation and protective effectiveness of forest belts greatly depends on the compliance of their construction parameters and location with optimal values. However, over time, their parameters change significantly. Therefore, the main objective of the study was to determine the current state of protective forest belts of various purposes in Kherson Region, which is the aridest and deflation-risky in Ukraine.
Materials and Methods
The object of the research was forest belts located in the Oleshky district in Kherson Region, namely forest shelterbelts, a riverside shelterbelt along the Konka River and a roadside shelterbelt along the road between the city of Kherson and the town of Oleshky. The analysis of the fund information sources, the field survey of forest belts and the analysis of space images of the shelterbelt systems were used as the research methods.
The distribution of forest belts in Kherson Region by their purposes was analysed. The study showed that forest shelterbelts prevail in the region by their area. According to the latest inventory data, in 2010 their area was 28,951 ha and the area of field-protective forest cover was 1.6%. The highest rates were in Oleshky (2.9%) and Skadovsk (2.4%) districts. The lowest rates were in Kalanchak (1.2%), Nyzhni Sirohozy (1.3%), Henichesk and Ivanovo districts (1.4%). The work involves the description of shelterbelts in Oleshky district and the distribution of their area depending on the main tree species, their age and design. By means of satellite images of Oleshky district, it was determined that the average distance between the forest belts in different parts of the region varied from 350 to 780 m (550 m on average). In some places, the distance between the forest belts decreases to 160–345 m (255 m on average). The maximum distances range from 600 to 1,050 m (860 m on the average). Due to the complete loss or felling of forest belts, there are spaces without them up to 2 km long. It was established that the methodological approach used in the research, allows precise determining the width of forest belts. Therefore, the analysis of satellite images allows calculating a current field-protective forest cover of the territory in its various parts. With the Konka River as an example, the study suggests the methodology for calculating the width of a riverbank protective belt along the riverbed. Calculation by means of this technique showed that this width should be 14 m.
Taking into account the determined distance between forest belts, their evident sparseness and loss of significant sections, there is a necessity for considerable reforestation works, which should be carried out after a thorough analysis of the current state of forest belts. The technique of working with satellite images suggested in the article allows doing a thorough analysis without time-consuming ground-based surveys, since it has been proved that Google Earth and Microsoft Bing satellite images can be used to estimate not only the distance between forest belts but also their width, density, a total number of tree rows, degree of their preservation or loss of some trees, etc.
Coppice planting (e. g., Robinia pseudoacacia) in forest shelterbelts requires systematic soil care measures, as well as thoughtful management and control over the shoots and timely thinning. It makes proper maintenance of forest belts costly. Therefore, it is inadvisable to use tree and shrub saplings to establish shelterbelts.
7 Figs., 9 Tables, 30 Refs.