ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2011, Vol. 42, No. 5, pp. 351–361. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
Original Russian Text © F.V. Kryazhimskii, K.V. Maklakov, L.M. Morozova, S.N. Ektova, 2011, published in Ekologiya, 2011, No. 5, pp. 323–333.
The Yamal Peninsula is a unique region of the Rus
sian Transpolar region. In contrast to most other
regions with welldeveloped reindeer breeding, the
numbers of reindeer have considerably increased
rather than decreased there. This was accompanied by
a rapid increase in the population of Nenets, who are
the main reindeerbreeders in the region, compared to
other indigenous ethnic groups of the North (Klokov
and Khrushchev, 2004).
Under presentday conditions, the domestic rein
deer is the main firstorder consumer in Yamal; its
population in the peninsula is currently as large as
about 300000 head. At first glance, the food demand
of reindeer is small, compared to the total forage
reserve. However, rapid degradation of vegetation on
the peninsula has become evident (Magomedova and
Morozova, 1997; Morozova and Magomedova, 2004,
2006; etc.). To assess the current situation and predict
further development of the vegetation–domestic rein
deer system, we used the method of computer simula
tion, which is the main tool of system analysis.
The purpose of this study was a system analysis of the
dynamics of the tundra ecosystem in the Yamal Penin
sula, which is exposed to the heavy pressure of reindeer
grazing. The objectives of the study were the following:
(1) To map the distributions of green and lichen
forage reserves in the peninsula in the early and late
20th century that could be analyzed using information
(2) To develop a simulation model of changes in the
green and lichen forage reserves with time, taking into
account the effects of reindeer grazing and trampling
on vegetation and the roles of other key components of
(3) To verify the model, i.e., to compare the simu
lated dynamics of the green and lichen forage reserves
with the estimates of their actual changes in the period
from the 1930s to the end of the 20th century and to
assess the contributions of the main factors related to
reindeer pasturing (grazing and trampling) to vegeta
(4) To use simulation experiments for analyzing
various scenarios of changes in the green and lichen
forage reserves with time as dependent on the numbers
of domestic reindeer.
MATERIALS, METHODS, AND TERMINOLOGY
When mapping the spatial distribution of the green
and lichen forage reserves in the peninsula in different
periods of time, we divided the peninsula surface into
km (10000 ha) in size.
Andreev (1933) described the distribution of forage
reserves over Yamal pastures in the early 20th century
and presented the geobotanical characteristic of the
main formations and groups of formations constitut
ing the vegetation of Yamal, described their abundance
in different parts of the peninsula on a geobotanical
map, and estimated the green and lichen forage
reserves inherent in them. So, the 1930s became the
first time point in our analysis of the time course of
forage reserves in Yamal.
System Analysis of Biogeocenoses of the Yamal Peninsula:
Simulation of the Impact of LargeHerd Reindeer Breeding
F. V. Kryazhimskii, K. V. Maklakov, L. M. Morozova, and S. N. Ektova
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202,
Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received November 26, 2010
—The systemic approach based mainly on computer simulation has been used to assess the dynam
ics of ecosystems of the Yamal Peninsula, which have been exposed to the impact of numerous reindeer herds
because of extensive development of reindeer breeding during the past decades. This type of development has
been demonstrated to result in degradation of vegetation, whose profound changes preclude further develop
ment of reindeer breeding in the same way. The current situation requires major amendments to the ethnic–
cultural and economic policy in the region.
: simulation, vegetation, reindeer breeding, pasture load, green and lichen forage, vegetation degradation.