ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES AND THE FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE OF
BIOMONITORING AND BIOINDICATION AS FACTORS FOR OPTIMIZING BIO-SOCIAL ECOSYSTEMS IN THE TERRITORY OF AZERBAIJAN
Afat O. Mammadova
Baku State University, Baku, Azerbaijan
Abstract. On the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic, significant research has been carried out in the field of biomonitoring, bioindication and biotesting of components of natural landscapes. The development of these studies is relevant both from scientific and practical points of view by conducting systematic research in the field of biomonitoring, bioindication, and biotesting in the arid zone of the country as a unified landscape system, considering the possibility of using the results obtained in the field of tasks the development needs of the current and prospective economy.
Keywords: arid zone; intensive farming; pollution; biomonitoring; biotesting; organic farming
The area of the Republic of Azerbaijan is 86, 692 km2. The growing pace of anthropogenic development of the territory and the intensification of their farm or agricultural use raises questions about rational planning of territories, their optimization and sustainable balanced development. This problem can include the preservation of biological and landscape diversity and the ecological stabilization of territories, and often, especially characteristic of the Aran zone of the country, and the restoration of lost ecological balance and sustainability. High rates of urbanization, a high degree of plowing of territories, excessive fragmentation and transformation of preserved natural territories make it impossible to ensure the sustainability of ecosystems. Therefore, the unfulfillment by their elements of essential ecosystem functions calls into question the possibility of sustainable development of the territory because environmental degradation inextricably affects economic and social development.
In this regard, taking into account the aggravation of environmental problems in a significant part of the territory of Azerbaijan (deforestation, pollution, degradation, soil erosion, pollution of aquatic ecosystems (surface and ground waters), atmosphere), in the country along with other areas of ecology, multifaceted studies were launched in the field of biomonitoring, bioindication and biotesting of natural and technogenic landscapes. These studies were carried out at various levels of the landscape system (vegetation and soil cover, water), and at the level of individual species and populations.
The ecobiological traits of the Quercus L. species were studied, and the prospects of their use for environmental monitoring were shown [Mammadova A.O., 2021]. It was revealed that the fluctuating asymmetry indicators of Quercus longipes Stev. leaves can be used to assess the quality of the environment [Mammadova R.N. and Mammadova A.O., 2014]. An integrated assessment of the environmental quality was carried out by the fluctuating asymmetry of some woody plants species leaves under the conditions of Absheron [Mammadova, R.N. et all., 2015]., and parameters of chlorophyll fluorescence and fluctuating asymmetry of the leaves of a woody plant – Quercus castanefolia С. А. Меу. in the conditions of the city of Baku [Mammadova, 2020].
In a comparative aspect, the bioindicative parameters of Quercus pubescens Willd. were studied in natural forest phytocenoses and under the influence of traffic flows [Mammadova R.N., 2019].
An integrated assessment of the disruption of individual stable development in the ontogenesis of woody plants Platanus orientalis L., Populus nigra L., Pinus eldarica Medw., which arose as a result of motor vehicle pollution in the conditions of Absheron, was carried out [Farzaliyeva N.M., 2018]. Based on the results, the ecological situation of the study areas was assessed, and their ecological zoning was carried out using GIS technology. For the first time, based on the indicative parameters of the studied plants, a map of the environmental assessment of motor transport territories was compiled. Also, the indicative parameters of the studied plants and mycobiota were determined in conditions of motor transport pollution [Farzaliyeva N.M., et al., 2018].
Some works have been carried out in biomonitoring soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons [Ismayilov, 1982]. It was shown that hydrocarbon pollution is accompanied by substantial changes in the structure and functional activity of soil microbiocenosis – their number and qualitative composition change, which leads to partial or complete degradation of soils. In gray-brown soil, the number of denitrifying, ammonifying and nitrogen-fixing bacteria may increase [Ismayilov, 1983]. The increase of denitrifiers and nitrogen fixers in oil-contaminated soil may be associated with an excess of organic compounds and an increase in the number of anaerobic microzones in polluted soil [Ismayilov, 1982, 1988а].
The role of microorganisms in the self-purification of oil-contaminated soils and and the resistance of various types of soils along export pipelines to oil pollution was shown. The ability of hydrocarbon-oxidizing microorganisms to grow at elevated temperatures in soils was determined [Ismayilov, et all., 2004]. The effect of hydrocarbons on soil enzymes was investigated [Ismayilov, and Panahova, 2010].
Bioindication of reservoir waters in the oil fields of Absheron revealed the possibility of using reservoir microorganisms to develop modern biotechnologies to increase the oil recovery of oil reservoirs with a high economic effect [Ismayilov, 2016].
Studies have been carried out on the bioindication and assimilation potential of mud volcanoes in the territory of Azerbaijan, and for the first time, measures have been proposed for the formation of phytocenosis networks around volcanoes as an integral part of a single eco-framework in the country [Ismayilov, et all., 2018].
Bioindication methods were used to assess the degree of self-purification of groundwater on the territory of Azerbaijan and the environmental risks associated with the entry of polluted waters into the coastal zones of the Caspian Sea and the negative impact on its biosystems [Ismaylov, Aliyeva, 2018].
Bioindication has shown that in gray-brown soil contaminated with crude oil, the number of soil invertebrates decreases as the contamination increases, up to their complete absence with a high degree of contamination [Samadov, 2008; 2011]. Significant changes in the structure and activity of soil microfauna on technogenically polluted soils were shown [Samedov, et al., 2011].
A monograph covering modern approaches and methods of biomonitoring, bioindication and biotesting was published for the first time in the country [Mammadova A.O., 2008].
The conducted studies are undoubted of great scientific importance. They demonstrate the sensitivity of biosystems under the pressure of anthropogenic and technogenic factors, as a result of which their structure changes, trophic relationships are disrupted, and, in general, the homeostasis of biosystems is disturbed.
At the same time, it should be noted that a systematic analysis of the studies conducted in biomonitoring or bioindication is generally fragmented and disparate. At the present stage, to solve the problems of sustainable development and ensure self-sufficiency in agricultural products, it is difficult to assess changes in the soil cover, phytocenoses as a single biosystem in a specific soil-climatic zone, to develop programs and proposals for their optimization.
In this regard, it becomes relevant both from scientific and practical points of view to conduct systematic research in the field of biomonitoring and bioindication together with biotesting in a specific soil-geographical zone as a single landscape system, taking into account the possibility of using the results obtained in the field of problems of the development needs of the current and promising economy.
Thus, carrying out systematic research in the field of biomonitoring, bioindication in the arid zone of the country (pic.) as a single landscape biosystem, which is most susceptible to anthropogenic and technogenic pressure, will make it possible to identify the most sensitive, most disturbing zones in order to give on this basis an objective assess the degree of their disturbance, create modern systems for the effective management of these zones, restore their biogenicity, sustainability, bioproductivity, ensure the production of environmentally friendly agricultural products.
The problem is that the intensification of agricultural production using chemical technologies in Azerbaijan and throughout the world in the previous period was accompanied by the development and aggravation of environmental problems – degradation, pollution of soil covering and aquatic ecosystems by pollutants of organic or inorganic nature. Currently, Azerbaijan is making efforts to prepare the infrastructure necessary for organic agricultural production. The Law “On Organic Agriculture” (June 13, 2008) established general rules for developing organic agriculture in Azerbaijan.
Picture. Arid zone of Azerbaijan – light green color
In this regard, the issues of Azerbaijan’s policy in the field of agriculture are considered, and it is noted that organic agriculture products are a potentially promising direction, including for export. are considered [Kharitonov, 2015; Uygun Aksoy et al., 2018]. At the same time, these works and projects do not at all consider environmental problems (anthropogenic and technogenic pollution of soils and water ecosystems), which potentially hinder the production of agricultural products in some regions of Azerbaijan, primarily in the arid zone, and do not discuss ways to overcome them.
System analysis shows that there are some limitations to the development of ecological farming in the arid zone of the country. These are first-order limiters of anthropogenic and technogenic nature (population growth and the rate of use of natural resources with negative environmental consequences) and second-order limiters are of a natural character.
The first-order limiters include:
- Polluted soil cover in the Aran zone;
- Polluted surface waters – waters of the Kur, Aras, and Samur rivers.
The second-order limiters include climatic factors:
- a consistent increase in the average annual temperature in the country, to the greatest extent in the Aran zone – about 1.90 C in recent years, and negative forecasts in the coming decades);
- as a consequence of climate change, the water balance in the country has decreased by about 30% in recent years.
The territory of the arid zone is characterized by the production of food and industrial crops: fruit and berry (walnut, pear, pomegranate, quince, plum, fig, cherry, dates, pistachios, medlar, apricot), cotton, cereals, and legumes (barley, wheat), vegetables (onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage). In this regard, we consider it necessary to conduct biomonitoring of the state of crops growing in the fields of the arid zone. In laboratory conditions, it is necessary to conduct fundamental research on biotesting the resistance of different types of crops to different doses of pesticides used in this zone and heavy metals polluting the soil cover. In particular, many crops can bioaccumulate heavy metals, and then these compounds, when passing through the trophic relationship, accumulate in the organisms of animals and humans [Sokolov О.А., Chernikov V.А., 1999]. Biotesting should be carried out at the level of morphology, biochemistry, and physiology in order to identify the main patterns of penetration of different types of pollutants and their transport, movement, metabolism, and bioaccumulation in different types of crops – in roots, leaves, seeds, fruits.
The research results carried out at this stage will allow us to identify and select the most resistant to bioaccumulation of pesticides and heavy metals crops grown in the Aran zone. And also, most importantly, it will make it possible to allocate chemical protection products for crops used in the Aran zone, which can be recommended for use as chemicals, to develop MPC chemicals used in the soils of the Aran zone. The results of systematic studies in the field of environmental risks of growing agricultural products in the arid zone of the country, which has been most exposed to anthropogenic and technogenic impacts for decades, will allow, firstly, to develop of regional strategies to reduce environmental pollution from organic and inorganic pollutants. Secondly, it will contribute to the development of agriculture that does not harm the environment and reduce the risk of pollutants entering the coastal zones of the Caspian Sea.
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