Geoinformation modeling of potentially important territories for the brown bear's stay in the Transcarpathian region
Purpose. Search for important areas for the presence of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) within the Transcarpathian region using geoinformation modeling tools to optimize the boundaries of the structural elements of the econetwork.
Methods. Geoinformation modeling, geospatial analysis, processing of stock materials of environmental protection services.
Results. In order to delineate potentially important areas for the presence of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) within the Transcarpathian region, a comprehensive assessment of the natural environment was carried out using geoinformation modeling tools. This modeling involved a preliminary analysis of the suitability for the life of the species of the following five parameters: types of land cover, proximity of non-forest biotopes to forest, high-altitude bioclimatic zones, degrees of dismemberment of the terrain, distance from settlements and roads. As a result of the integral assessment of these parameters, a cartographic model "Integral suitability of biotopes for the presence of the brown bear (Ursus arctos)" was obtained, which also demonstrated the habitats recorded by experts and the places of registration of the species. It was established that the total area of territories that are potentially suitable for the brown bear (Ursus arctos) within Transcarpathian region is 574.6 thousand hectares, and covers about 45.1% of the territory of the region. The largest number of such habitats is concentrated in the mountainous southwestern part of the region within the orographic ecoregion of the elevated dissected highlands. The most suitable and suitable biotopes, formed as a result of modeling, are also found within the boundaries of Gorganska Verhovyna (on the border of Transcarpathian and Ivano-Frankivsk regions), which belongs to the ecoregion of elevated lowlands. The simulated territories correlate well enough with localities where real signs of the distribution of the species have been recorded. At the second stage of research, in accordance with the chosen methodology, a cartographic model of "Potentially important areas for the presence of the brown bear" was obtained, on which the population, reproduction and other areas, as well as key areas of the region's eco-network and nature protection areas were outlined. Spatial features of the location of population and breeding areas in other morphogenic ecoregions of the Carpathians were also characterized, natural and anthropogenic obstacles and threats to the species' migration and survival were identified. It is noted that the natural conditions of the border are favorable for the migration of mammals from Romania, Slovakia and Poland, which is also confirmed by monitoring studies conducted by environmental protection institutions, forestry and hunting management, etc.
Conclusions. The Transcarpathian region has favorable conditions for the existence of the brown bear (Ursus Arctos), in particular, a large share of forest ecosystems, the presence of hard-to-reach areas, a decrease in the population of small mountain villages, etc. However, the constant development of recreational and energy infrastructure can lead to the fragmentation of the natural environment. Therefore, the areas outlined by us, which are important for the presence of the brown bear (Ursus arctos), can be the basis for optimizing the boundaries of the structural elements of the eco-network of the mountainous part of the Transcarpathian region. In the future, it is necessary to continue monitoring studies on the presence of the brown bear within the key territories of the Zakarpattia econetwork and to more clearly delimit ecological corridors with the implementation of measures to comply with the norms of environmental protection restrictions.
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