УДК 574

The role of soils in the assessment of the modern ecological condition of lankaran natural region forests

Гейдарова Айнур Велиага кызы – доктор философии по географии, ведущий научный сотрудник отдела Радиоэкологии Института экологии  Национального аэрокосмического агентства Азербайджана

Abstract: The ecological balance of forests, which are considered the main component of the landscape, depends on both natural and anthropogenic impacts. The current ecological state of forests depends on all components of the landscape, and also depends even more on the ecological state of the land. The article describes the role of lands in the ecological assessment of forests in the study area.

Keywords: forest, ecological assessment, soil, humus, degree of fertility, landscape.

Among the various natural resources of Azerbaijan, forests occupy a key place. The development of science, industry, technology and the constant increase in the need for firewood of the national economy put forward important issues such as restoration of forest resources, efficient use and increase of productivity in front of the forest enterprise. It should be noted that only highly productive forests are able to maintain the environment and increase its wealth. Therefore, one of the important issues of forestry is expanding their areas and increasing their productivity. Solving this valuable task can be done on the basis of developing a system of forestry measures taking into account local conditions. Highly productive forests of the future are considered to be forests built on the basis of new methods and form new directions of development of forest science and practice. First of all, the measures to be taken for the cultivation of future forests should be carried out on the basis of ecological and economic zoning. Among these tasks, the optimization of the forest by area, determination of their gender structure, composition and productivity should occupy a key place. Creation of future forests is the problem of modern times. However, it should be taken into account that the new forests grown today will be the forests of the future the third millennium. Nowadays, people often worry about the future of our planet. They are trying to ensure that the population is provided with food products, living conditions, and other issues necessary for normal living conditions are resolved. From the 2nd half of the 20th century, the United Nations conferences on biosphere resources have been convened from time to time. The purpose of these conferences is to approach the use of efficient methods of the geographical environment at the level of the requirements of modern science and ensure its preservation. Human population growth continues on the planet, and therefore we must think today about the future prosperity of people and their food supply. From this point of view, the main issue of the modern era is the formation of highly productive forests and the improvement of the natural environment with the help of the system of forestry measures. Azerbaijan's forests mostly perform protective functions, and this feature of them should be highlighted. Here, the guiding indicator factor should be that, in addition to obtaining firewood, the water is regulating, soil protecting, field protecting, sanitary-hygienic and aesthetic and other functions of the forests should also be fulfilled. Rather, the protective role of trees in the environment should be maximized. Here, as a determining indicator, the composition, density, shape, sanitary condition of trees and, in addition, their aesthetic characteristics and the degree of emotional impact on people in the forest-park part of the green zone should be taken into account. In such forests, the collection of firewood is put on the back burner. However, it is known that increasing the productivity of forest resources belonging to different conservation categories also strengthens their beneficial "protective" functions. It is quite clear that the forestry process is directly related to the quality state of forests. Due to the property of constant self-regeneration, forests, unlike other means of production, always increase their 4 natural qualities and productivity when their use is properly organized. In the conditions of scientific and technical development, it will be possible to increase the productivity of forests, protect soils from erosion, protect them from second salinization, drought, etc., by applying complex measures. All these issues are very relevant for the Republic of Azerbaijan, which has a highly developed industry and agriculture. However, the important factor for the improvement of the natural environment of the territory of Azerbaijan is its low forest cover, only 11%.We have set ourselves the goal of offering comprehensive forestry and forest improvement measures aimed at increasing the productivity of Lankaran forests and its resources, which is one of the ecological and economic regions of Azerbaijan. We have taken some steps to work out the theoretical and practical aspects of the problem.

One of the global problems of the modern era is the ecological situation of the world. As long as the traditional views and methods that have existed in the use of nature for thousands of years, which are becoming increasingly clear to mankind, it will not only be impossible to prevent the approaching ecological crisis, but its rapidly increasing scale and destructive effect will manifest itself even more in the global socio-economic development. At one time, most of the world's territory, including Azerbaijan, was covered with forests, but as the scale of anthropogenic impacts increases, the reduction of forest areas becomes more pronounced. As a result, only 11 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan is currently covered with forests.

Among the natural resources of Azerbaijan, forest cover has a special place. Taking into account the irreplaceable role of forests in the life of our society, recently the study of the changes of the plant cover of nature due to the economic activity of the human factor and the solution of this problem have made us think as an important issue. The most important of these problems is the decrease and change in the number of tree species that play the role of oxygen base of the biosphere. The role of forests in living and non-living nature is considered irreplaceable. Thus, forests play the role of a kind of moisture collector and regulate the distribution of water to the plains, relatively balancing it. In addition, forests prevent landslides and avalanches in mountainous regions. At the same time, forests have the property of phytoncides, they destroy harmful microorganisms. Forests protect plants, soil, water bodies, roads, settlements, monuments from the harmful effects of natural factors, change the microclimate, and reduce the effects of dry, hot, strong winds. Forests stabilize streams, ravines, and shifting sands, enable even spreading and gradual melting of snow cover, weaken evaporation, and lower groundwater levels. In addition to all this, the biggest role of forests in nature is that each hectare absorbs 10-20 tons of carbon dioxide and exports oxygen instead. 1 ha of forest area absorbs 8 kg of carbon dioxide in 1 hour, which is equal to the volume of carbon dioxide released into the air by the breath of 200 people in 1 hour.

From this point of view, the analysis and evaluation of the modern ecological situation of the Lankaran economic region, which is one of the main economic units of the Republic of Azerbaijan, can be considered as one of the actual scientific research issues. Forests, which once covered more than 60% of the territory of Lankaran province, especially the rare moist and semi-humid subtropical forests of Lankaran natural province, have decreased and now make up only 23% of the total area.

Lankaran economic district is considered one of the largest districts of the Republic, both in terms of its territory and its economic and ecological potential. Its territory is located in the southern part of Azerbaijan, covering Lankaran, Astara, Masalli, Lerik, Yardimli and Jalilabad administrative regions. Lankaran, with an area of 5330 km2, constitutes 6.1% of the total area of Azerbaijan and has its own relief features and consists of 3 mountain ranges in orographic structure: Alashar-Burovar (Burovar), Peshtasar and Talish ranges and Tertiary and Quaternary sediments [1, p. 96].

Vegetation is one of the main indicators in landscape formation. Lankaran differs from other natural regions of Azerbaijan due to the richness, color and diversity of its vegetation. The ecological assessment of any area begins with the analysis of the current ecological condition of the land. Currently, small retail land use in the country, the lack of agrochemical service at any level, the increase in the ingredient composition and intensity of pollution, the lack of attention to the intended use of land have created conditions for the reduction of the productivity of the lands of the Republic, as well as the Lankaran economic region, which was selected as the research object, and the land areas suitable for agriculture.

The soil cover of the area has a great role in the development and formation of the landscape of the Lankaran natural region. So, different soil types and subtypes were created in the process of soil cultivation. The most common soil type in the study area is yellow mountain-forest soil. These soils are typical of the climate of the foothills and low mountain regions. The amount of humus in the yellow mountain-forest soils reaches 7-12%, and in these soils, where chestnut-leafed oaks, ironwoods, and vales trees grow well, laurel, Tung, lemon, tangerine, feijoa, etc. the lands of Hyrkan type forests where plants grow can also be attributed. On the northern slopes of the territory, pool-brown mountain forest soils, where forestless pastures spread, play a key role. In the northwestern (Zuvand) part of Tallish, chestnut soils are common, and at an altitude of 1800-2400 m, mountain-grass steppe soils are common [2, p. 113; 6, p. 64-102].

The role of soil erosion processes in the reduction of forest cover is also great. This can be observed mostly in the reduction of forest massifs along the road. An example of this is the landslide and erosion processes that take place every year in the 20th km area of Lerik district. Soil erosion is a natural anthropogenic phenomenon. Water erosion consists of soil washing by surface water, transportation, and mechanical breakdown of rocks. Wind erosion of soils is the defoliation of soil particles by the wind. Both processes occur due to the effects of natural and anthropogenic factors. The main ecological consequences of water erosion – reduction of soil productivity and ecological function, surface water pollution, landscape degradation. Deflation of lands reduces their productivity, leads to massive destruction of agricultural lands, destruction of natural drainage network, forest strips and buildings.

Considering all this, it can be said that the lands of Jalilabad, Astara and Masalli districts, which are part of the Lankaran natural-economic region, are moderately dangerous soils according to the degree of erosion danger, the soils of Lerik region are very dangerous soils, and the lands of Lankaran region are weakly dangerous soils (picture 1).


Erosion rate (%)

Erosion-hazardous soils

2 (1-15)

Weak hazardous soils

3 (15-25)

Moderately hazardous soils

4 (25-30)

Severely hazardous soils

5 (50-70)

Very dangerous lands

 Picture 1. Soil erosion map.

The natural fertility of soils depends not only on the value of humus resources, but also indirectly on the granulomere composition. Each soil type has a characteristic granulomere composition. The granulomeres composition of the soils of the research region is as follows: the east-west part of Lankaran province is covered with silty-clay and zif podzol silty-swampy soils formed on the basis of alluvial and prolluvial sediments. Depending on the level of humus, such marshy soils are divided into peat-clay and rotten-clay soils. From the left bank of the Vilashchay to the north, grassy gray soils consisting of clayey-sandy sediments formed from dry-steppe climatic conditions dominate [3, p. 78-137].

Just as soil is an important morphological component of the landscape, the amount of humus in the spread of forests is also the main indicator of soil fertility. Taking into account the indicators of the economic region, the humus reserve and map of the soil were drawn up (picture  2).


Reserve of humus in the soil l ⁄ ha









Picture 2. Soil humus resource map.

In the ecological assessment of the Lankaran-Astara economic region, the amount of humus, acid number, bioclimatic potential were taken as the main parameters, and the ecological assessment table of the soil was drawn up (table 1).

Table 1. Ecological assessment of Lankaran economic district lands.



Environmental parameters of soils






Hummus %



Farm location


< 2000








Summer pastures

Brown mountain forest









Forest (beech)

Brown mountain forest









Forest (oak)










Planting place (vegetables, potatoes)


< 200








Planting area (vegetables), multiple plants (subtropical plants)










Winter pasture, arable land (cereals), perennial crops (grapes)

Gray brown









Winter pasture, arable land (grain)


< 150








Winter pasture, arable land (grain, cotton)

Gray brown

< 100








Plantation (vegetables), multiple plants (grapes)










Winter pasture

Saltiness and saltiness









Winter pasture

Conventional indicators:

H – Height above sea level, meter

Md – Humidity index

PH – Reaction of the medium

Y – Average annual amount of precipitation, mm

S – Water resistance of aggregates, %

B/P – bioclimatic potential

T – 10ºC mean annual sum of active temperatures 

It is known that soils are one of the defining horizontal components of the ecological landscape. The ecological potential map of the landscape types of Lankaran region was analyzed mainly by taking into account soil fertility, climate and relief factors and was evaluated in terms of the natural living conditions of the population (Picture 3).


Picture 3. Map of anthropogenic and man-made disturbed lands.

In addition to the parameters taken into account in the assessment (amount of humus, acid number, bioclimatic potential, etc.), credit scores and the form of land ownership, as well as factors causing man-made disturbance and pollution, were also taken into account and an assessment map was drawn up ( Picture 4), [4, p 127].


1- 2

Partially Satisfactory, ecological condition is slightly disturbed


Catastrophic, the ecological situation is completely disturbed


Satisfactory, ecological condition is poorly disturbed


Risky, ecological situation partially disturbed

Picture 4. Ecological assessment map of Lankaran economic district.

 The Result

The current ecological status of Lankaran economic region forests can be assessed as follows:

  • In Masalli and Jalilabad regions, the ecological balance is partially disturbed, the ecological situation is satisfactory;
  • In Lankaran and Astara regions - the ecological balance is in conflict, the ecological situation is in crisis;
  • In Lerik and Yardimli regions - the ecological balance has been disturbed, the ecological situation has changed in a negative direction and is risky.
  • More anthropogenic changes of the forest cover occurred as a result of numerous deforestation near settlements;
  • Intensive use of land for economic resources, processing of construction materials in the low mountain belt and foothill plain, and construction of roads lead to the reduction of forest areas and the rise of the lower border of forests;
  • Ecological measures, massive afforestation measures and planting of nurseries in recent years are an example of the works carried out in the direction of protection.


  1. Land Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Baku, 1999.
  2. Budagov B.A., Caribov A. The main directions of anthropogenization of natural landscapes. Constructive geography of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Baku, “Science”, 2000.
  3. Mammadov S. State land cadaster of the Republic of Azerbaijan: legal, scientific and practical issues. Baku, “Elm”, 2003, 445 p.
  4. Mammadov S. Ecological assessment of Azerbaijani lands. Baku, “Elm”, 1998. 280 p.
  5. Budagov A. Ecological atlas, Baku, 2009, 156 p.
  6. Mammadova S.Z. Land resources and valuation of Lankaran province. Baku, 2003, 116 p.
  7. Khalilov M.Y. Anthropogenic change and restoration of vegetation, constructive geography of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku, “Elm”, 2004, 377 p.

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