Prof. Alexander Prishchepov
Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. University of Copenhagen, Denmark
For the last 30 years, the Eurasian landscapes have undergone a drastic transformation with multiple repercussions to the environment and societal well-being. For instance, socio-political changes such as the collapse of the Soviet Union shaped agricultural and cultural landscapes due to widespread agricultural land abandonment. Large-scale environmental engineering projects, such as “Grain for Green” and “Great Green Wall” programs in China, affected the mountainous and dryland landscapes. In this regard, Eurasia serves as a great and unintended area suited for the “Natural Experiments”, which would help understand these large-scale implications on the landscapes' resilience. There has been great progress in assessing such transitions, thanks to the methodological and technology developments for the last 30 years and thanks to the great efforts of national and international research initiatives and programs. During the talk, I will shortly evaluate such major millstones and describe major scientific outcomes about the implications of such large scale transitions and regime shifts on various socio-ecological systems and landscapes in Eurasia, but also the resilience of some of these systems. I will also highlight the plausible direction for future research to fill thematic gaps. The large-scale socio-political shifts and implementation of environmental projects are not rare and have a cascade effect on the landscapes and processes. Therefore, I underscore a strong need for international cooperation to understand better complex landscape transition pathways in Eurasia, local and distal implications in the telecoupled world.