Multi-criteria evaluation of landscapes general resilience and potentials

Authors and Affiliations: 

Ksenia Merekalova, Anastasia Kharitonova
Moscow Lomonosov State University, Faculty of Geography, Moscow, 119991, Russia

Corresponding author: 
Ksenia Merekalova

Intensive anthropogenic pressure on the environment results in a strong transformation of natural landscapes which appears in significant changes in landscape structure and functioning. The landscape response to the impact depends on its resilience. As landscape resilience we understand the general resilience of natural landscapes to external influence (potential resilience). This integral approach is not differentiated in relation to affecting factors but is universal and allows characterizing the acceptable levels of human activity in study area (Folke et al., 2010). Landscape resilience is an important part of landscape natural potentials that means the suitability of a landscape to carry different forms of land use (Bastian et al., 2012). Our task was to examine the possibility of initial evaluation of landscape general resilience and potentials based on remote sensing imagery, topographic data and field investigations.
The case study is performed for a key area in south-eastern part of Crimea peninsula. We studied the semi-natural landscapes of the Karadag natural reserve and transformed landscapes of surrounding territory. The research area is characterized by considerable diversity of landforms and landscape cover types. There are semi-indigenous forests of Quercus pubescens, planting pine forests, sparse woodlands and shrubs, steppes, arable lands and vineyards over the territory. All of these landscape units have different resilience to external impact – either natural or anthropogenic, and, as a result, different potentials.
For landscape resilience assessment we used multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) technique based on hierarchical assessment of holistic geosystems resilience through the sum of partial assessments of their components resilience. At first step we selected the properties of landscape components that determine their resilience and detected the specific regional criteria for every indicator (Table 1). On the basis of quantitative analysis of digital terrain model, multi-spectral satellite images and field data we evaluated the resilience of landforms, vegetation and soils. Then we summarized partial assessments of landscape components resilience and derived general (potential) landscape resilience. At the last step joint comparison of partial resilience evaluations of relief, vegetation and soils made us possible to identify the territories stable or unstable for all the components, as well as the territories that are stable in respect to one component and unstable in respect of the others. This approach could be useful in strategic environmental management. In general, stable landscapes are suitable for a wide range of land use activities. Unstable landscapes require a gentle regime of land use with strict limitations. And the land use of areas which have different resilience of different landscape components should be planned in such a way that the impact has been directed mainly to a stable component of the landscape.


Bastian, O., Haase, D., Grunewald, K., 2012. Ecosystem properties, potentials and services—the EPPS conceptual framework and an urban application example. Ecological Indicators 21, 7–16.

Folke, C., Carpenter, S.R., Walker, B., Scheffer, M., Chapin, T., Rockstrom, J., 2010. Resilience thinking: integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society 15(4): 20.

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