ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2015, Vol. 46, No. 5, pp. 397–404. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2015.
Original Russian Text © V.V. Fomin, A.P. Mikhailovich, S.G. Shiyatov, 2015, published in Ekologiya, 2015, No. 5, pp. 323–331.
Landscape photographs and digital images are rel
ative inexpensive but spacious sources containing large
amounts of information (DahdouhGuebas and
Koedam, 2008). They are highly illustrative and pro
vide objective data on the terrain. In recent years,
repeated landscape photographs have been widely
used in ecology and forestry to evaluate changes
occurring over a certain period of time at the levels of
landscapes, communities, populations, and organism
(Hall, 2001; Nesterov and Sarychev, 2006; Sarychev,
2006; Fomin et al., 2007, 2008a; Shiyatov, 2009; Hen
drick and Copenheadver, 2009; Webb et al., 2010;
Fomin and Mikhailovich, 2011).
The systematic use of repeated landscape photog
raphy in geological and geoecological research dates
from the late 19th to early 20th century (Hall, 2001;
Sarychev and Nesterov, 2007). Analysis of relevant
data shows that the method of groundbased photo
monitoring (GBPM) is becoming increasingly popu
lar in ecological studies (Hall, 2001; Hendrick and
Copenheadver, 2009; Webb et al., 2010). However, this
method has some serious drawbacks that restrict its
application on a wider scale (Fomin et al., 2008b;
Fomin and Mikhailovich, 2013).
One of them is accounted for by specific represen
tation of spatial information in a photograph: it shows
only the fragment of landscape that is visible from a
given viewpoint at a certain camera angle, and the
same fragment may be hardly recognizable in a photo
made from a different viewpoint or angle. This feature
makes it difficult for a researcher to gain an integral
representation of the territory under study and com
prehensively evaluate changes that have occurred
throughout its expanse.
Moreover, the initial material for creating a GBPM
system often consists of landscape photographs from
the archives of scientists, tourists, and amateur pho
tographers that have been taken not for the above pur
pose but only as a supplement to some other material.
Until recently, the situation has been aggravated by the
limitations that traditional photographic methods
impose on the possibility to obtain a sufficiently large
number of images.
Automated analysis of landscape photographs for
quantitative characterization of the depicted objects is
complicated because of the diversity of these objects
and variation of scale values in an image and illumina
tion level within a photo.
Summing up the aforesaid, several problems in
working with landscape photographs can be noted, in
—to compile a series of interrelated photographs
allowing the researcher (user) to gain a comprehensive
overview of the study region;
New Approaches to Studies on the Dynamics of HighMountain
Tree Vegetation Using Repeated Landscape Photographs:
The Example of the Polar Urals
V. V. Fomin
, A. P. Mikhailovich
, and S. G. Shiyatov
Ural State Forest Engineering University, Sibirskii trakt 37, Yekaterinburg, 620100 Russia
Ural Federal University, ul. Mira 19, Yekaterinburg, 620002 Russia
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received January 22, 2015
—A methodology for the analysis and presentation of repeated landscape photographs is described
that has been used to evaluate the spatiotemporal dynamics of sparse tree stands in the upper timberline eco
tone on the RaiIz mountain massif, the Polar Urals. It is intended to solve problems with the use of such pho
tographs so as to help the researcher to gain an integral representation of the space under study, obtain addi
tional information about the terrain, create and update descriptions to photographs, and construct thematic
or schematic maps using repeated landscape photography.
: repeated landscape photographs, upper timberline ecotone, spatiotemporal dynamics, conven
tional symbols, schematic map, the Polar Urals