Ukrainian rural landscapes


Thanks to Yurij Bihun for coming up with the fascinating topic for this conference of Diverse Landscapes of Ukraine.  I’ve enjoyed exploring the rural landscapes of Ukraine and I hope what I’ve discovered is interesting to you, too.


I want to cover three themes.








If you go back far enough, the landscapes of Ukraine were ice and tundra.  When the Northern Europe’s landscapes escaped from the ice, they were repopulated from Ukraine.




The Y chromosome which dominates Scandinavia, came from Ukraine, so those of us with northern european ancestors really came from Ukraine.




Nearly all of us should claim Ukraine as a country we come from since nearly all of us come from landscapes of small bands of related people (villages) surrounded by fields and forests.




Thousands of paintings and photographs have idealized the village landscape of Ukraine.  In fact, we can call this landscape the iconic landscape of Ukraine.




Villages not always seen as positive, romatic landscape but a problem since they are so conservative and spread old, less productive methods.





Fact of need of villages to expand pushed Russian empire across Asia into Alaska.







Spread of villages gradually across the Russian empire even into Alaska and one settlement in California validates Plekhanov’s observations.





Replication of villages from the left bank of Ukraine all across Russia fits extremely well with an approach known as complex adaptive landscapes which combines complex adaptive systems (a successor to chaos theory) and landscape ecology.



You can find a discussion of theory in my paper, but in this talk, lets just look at landscapes.






Kuemmerle and his colleagues have shown the higher levels of fragmentation in Ukraine in contrast to adjacent regions of Slovakia and Poland due to distribution of collective farm territory to workers without means to cultivate it.


Urban and tourist areas have become highly fragmented in today’s Ukrainian landscapes as seen in Southeastern Crimea.






Kuemmerle and his colleagues have shown the patterns of abandonment in the landscapes of Lviv, Transcarpattia and Ivano-Frankiv Oblasts.





Farmland abandonment is highest not on steep slopes or high in the mountains but on former collective farms where workers had not the equipment or capital to farm the land.





Where access to markets is high and soils are fertile there is little abandonment of land.






What is Chernozem?  Soils created under specific climatic conditions which exist in only a few areas of the world, though 60% of Ukraine is thoroughly dominated by this soil type.




Rich, deep, black soils are Chernozem.








Flat, rich soils of Chernozem areas of Ukraine.







Chernozem is spread across Ukraine from Volyn and borders of Moldova in west into border of Russia.







In nearly all the chernozem, landscapes show continued cultivation and no abandonment.


Chernozem is being more intensively cropped in recent years leading to high production and rapidly expanding exports.






Just because land is not abandoned does not mean population doesn’t decline.







For at least 75 years, impact of larger and larger equipment has resulted in larger and larger farms and more devotion to row crops in rich, flat soils.





Mollisol is Chernozem, but covers a broader territory.








Population decline is continuing in the chernozem regions of the US even into 2000-2010.






Chernozem lands in US and areas of population decline are largely the same.










Huge difference:  Ukrainian nucleated village landscapes and US dispersed farmsteads much like Africa.





In 1991, independent family farms predicted to take over the land in Ukraine.







Gorby landscape: fragmented land and declining village.







Chernozem has variety of landscapes today.  Can be characterized on two dimensions: whether village is dying or resilient and whether land is fragmented or not.



Fragmentation of land and some decline of village comprises the landscape where independent family farms are dominant.





Not predicted: rise of agroholding comanies and vertical integration.






Astarta is typical of agroholding companies.







Landscape of Sviatilivka is declining village, fragmentation near village (including abandoned plots) with no fragmentation over most of former collective farm territory.



Both independent family farms and agroholdings result in decline of villages.







Some think a handful of agroholding firms will dominate agriculture in Ukraine.







New conventional wisdom of rise of agroholdings is supported by local government subsidies and tax relief.





Problems of agroholding companies are leading to movement out of production agriculture.






Most thorough study in chernozem in Russia indicates mega-farms are doing poorly compared to the non-vertically integrated farms.





Megafarms in Ukraine have a parallel in history with the bonanza farms of the Chernozem areas of the US.





Bonanza farms required a lot of labor since equipment was capable of covering little ground.






Today’s machinery permits individual families to farm 3000 acres.






Mega-farms are less cost-effective than family farms due to “agency costs.”







Need for local decision-making has led to partnerships with local families.






Are mega-farms ephemeral?







A continued push toward agroholding megafarm control threatens to move Ukraine more toward Kenya and away from Denmark.





Unpredicted in 1991: collective farms remain intact.







Independent family farms and agroholding are just two of the progeny of collective farms.






Charisma and limiting horizons are both used by managers to enlist loyalty of members of the collective farm village.




Many workers want to stay on the former collective farm.







If collective farm manager decides to try to keep farm together and he has loyalty of the farm workers.






Moskalenky landscape of non-fragmented fields and a resilient village.







Mykailyky landscape of non-fragmented fields and resilient village.



Integrated plant and animal production systems are much more resilient than selling grain and buying pesticides and fertilizer.




Attracting investment to keep villages strong through processing enterprises.






Chernozem landscapes.








Wishful predictions for landscape management.







Cooperatives are not good management structures for agricultural production.






Some wish for villages to take control of management of resources.






Small farms need various support services which are no longer being supplied by most villages and large farms in Ukraine.





Besidka landscape is fragmented around a resilient village.







Summary of Chernozem landscapes in two dimensions.







 Summary of landscapes seen in Chernozem region.






Definitions of sustainable agriculture unfortunately focus on immediate effects and neglect long-term factors.





Only communities can provide continuity of managment needed for sustainable systems.






Remember population decline in rich, flat lands is almost inexorable unless towns take action.





Towns need to examine their assumptions.







Commodities are a dead-end for villages in flat, rich landscapes.






Towns in row crop areas, such as Stuttgart, Arkansas, survive and thrive through establishment of multi-farmer LOVAs.





Hard for politicians to take proper stance.







We know the benchmarks which identify groups which are moving toward sustainable enterprises.





We know the skills needed in facilitators of sustainable enterprises.






For 2500 years we have known the correct role for government leaders in economic development.





Dynamic chaos of markets.







Chaos is good.








Marketing around local landscape features: terroir.










Enterprise facilitation process.







Have European village mentality remain to establish sustainable Midwestern US towns?






Economic development requires induction of chaos.








Worldwide adoption of enterprise facilitation.



States which have adopted tiered, self-selecting enterprise policies.









Summary of facilitated self-selection process.









Universities can facilitate the process of creation of LOVAs in a way that helps sustain the university.









Villages are the systems by which landscapes are replicated.









All these landscapes are present today.









What will happen with Ukrainian landscapes?

Will villages and their tacit knowledge crucial to sustainablity survive?


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