800 Years of Agricultural Land-use Change in Asian (Eastern) Russia

Abstract

Asian (Eastern) Russia is a globally important agricultural region but has received little attention in the literature. This book chapter evaluates the history of agricultural development in Asian Russia, often colloquially called Siberia, which is a vast region that stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. First, we summarize agro-environmental conditions across the region. Second, we present the dynamics of land use, crop and milk yields from medieval times until recent years and discuss the major underlying causes that bring about the observed changes in the extent and intensity of agricultural production. We then briefly discuss untapped agricultural potentials in the region regarding expanding cultivated areas and particularly regarding increasing productivity in crop and livestock production. We particularly focus attention on socio-economic and environmental impediments that limit uncovering such production potentials in the region.

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