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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Trees in Arctic cities perform not only important provisional and regulating ecosystem services, but also bring predominantly settler population closer to the visual images and household standards of their home southern regions. However, maintenance of green infrastructure in the Arctic has specific difficulties associated with the harsh climatic and environmental conditions. This paper focuses on state and dynamics of vegetation in the city of Nadym, Russia, with a particular focus on native and introduced trees as the main ecosystem service providers and an articulation of local values towards green spaces. The research is based on interdisciplinary approach which includes interviews with local residents, geobotanical survey and analysis of remote sensing data. The results of the study show that maintaining of natural vegetation requires specific measures due to environmental the critical impact of anthropogenic activity. The active introduction of plants from more southern regions is manifested both in the deliberate practice of landscaping the city’s streets and courtyards, and in spontaneous attempts to introduce plants from more southern (not Subarctic) agricultural regions of Russia, which are privately brought by city residents from other regions.
  3. Wildfires in permafrost areas, including smoldering fires (e.g., “zombie fires”), have increasingly become a concern in the Arctic and subarctic. Their detection is difficult and requires ground truthing. Local and Indigenous knowledge are becoming useful sources of information that could guide future research and wildfire management. This paper focuses on permafrost peatland fires in the Siberian subarctic taiga linked to local communities and their infrastructure. It presents the results of field studies in Evenki and old-settler communities of Tokma and Khanda in the Irkutsk region of Russia in conjunction with concurrent remote sensing data analysis. The study areas located in the discontinuous permafrost zone allow examination of the dynamics of wildfires in permafrost peatlands and adjacent forested areas. Interviews revealed an unusual prevalence and witness-observed characteristics of smoldering peatland fires over permafrost, such as longer than expected fire risk periods, impacts on community infrastructure, changes in migration of wild animals, and an increasing number of smoldering wildfires including overwintering “zombie fires” in the last five years. The analysis of concurrent satellite remote sensing data confirmed observations from communities, but demonstrated a limited capacity of satellite imagery to accurately capture changing wildfire activity in permafrost peatlands, which may have significant implicationsmore »for global climate.« less
  4. The paper is aimed at assessing the associations between the road networks geography and dynamics of wildfire events in the East Siberian boreal forest. We examined the relationship between the function of roads, their use, and management and the wildfire ignition, propagation, and termination during the catastrophic fire season of 2016 in the Irkutsk Region of Russia. Document analysis and interviews were utilized to identify main forest users and road infrastructure functional types and examine wildfire management practices. We combined community observations and satellite remotely sensed data to assess relationships between the location, extent, and timing of wildfires and different types of roads as fire sources, barriers, and suppression access points. Our study confirms a strong spatial relationship between the wildfire ignition points and roads differentiated by their types with the highest probability of fire ignition near forestry roads and the lowest near subsistence roads. Roads also play an important role in wildfire suppression, working as both physical barriers and access points for firefighters. Our research illustrates the importance of local and Indigenous observations along the roads for monitoring and understanding wildfires, including “zombie fires”. It also has practical implications for fire management collectively developed by authorities and local communities.
  5. Green spaces have recently received wide acknowledgement for urban sustainability benefits and are mentioned in the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs Target 11.7. The article aims to address the knowledge gap on indicators used for assessment of green spaces for urban sustainability in the Arctic using an example of Nadym, Russia which is illustrative of compact cities built during the Soviet time using a system of microrayons. Different indicators implemented by international organizations for assessment of green spaces are compared with indicators used in Russia. Utilizing very high-resolution WorldView-3 satellite image and open source data, the quantity and quality of green spaces are estimated with high accuracy. In addition to traditionally used indicators of share of green space per capita, share of public spaces for common use within walking distance to assess availability and accessibility of green spaces, the paper suggests importance of taking into account governance, distribution, and composition using analysis of historic legacies, municipal budget allocation for green space maintenance, and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index values. Such detailed view can enrich discussions about green spaces as sources for resilience both at the local and global levels, in comparison with other cities and across countries.
  6. On example of the city of Nadym, located in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area, the authors consider the socio-ecological problems of the development of green, blue and white open urban spaces. The research approach presented in the article is based on the study of a multifaceted complex of urban social and natural systems in their integrated unity, not just as public places, but as biomes — highly integrated urban ecosystems. A posteriori the researchers based on the materials of interviews conducted in 2020 with experts who in different years took part in the study or planned the development of the open urban spaces in Nadym, as well as on the analysis of available publications on this topic and publicly available data. The study found that factors such as the short summer, during which many residents leave the city, as well as the prevalence of freezing temperatures for almost eight months, in fact, transform the green and blue spaces of Nadym into white. This situation indicates the advisability of a more active appeal to the concept of a “winter city” in the development of the city urban environment. The application of the concept principles can be in demand in the process ofmore »creating more comfortable living conditions and spatial mobility of the Nadym residents, as well as for developing the recreational opportunities of the city open spaces and integrating them into the natural environment surrounding the city, which in general can be considered as one of the factors for the sustainable development of the city and the formation of post-industrial features in its socio-economic life.« less
  7. Addressing the need for convergence of different sources of knowledge to deal with complex issues such as global change, this paper presents the results of collaboration between artists and scientists to study social-ecological-technological systems (SETS). We focus on informal roads as an example of SETS. In the absence of public roads local, mostly indigenous communities and others use these forestry roads, seismic line clearings and oil and gas service roads for mobility in Siberian taiga affected by extractive industry. In 2020, with COVID-19, we had to increase our emphasis on virtual forms of data gathering, interpretation, and representations of the results. Presented in this paper forms of transmedia storytelling are designed to allow audience and users as well as the local and indigenous communities to get familiar with the research results, give feedback, and provide their own perspectives, interrelations and interdependencies between different SETS components.