Agricultural fires in European Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania and their impact on air quality, 2002 – 2012. in land-cover and land-use changes in Eastern Europe after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991

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This chapter describes the first research to quantify air pollution emissions at a moderate to coarse scale from agricultural burning in Belarus, Lithuania, and European Russia using MODIS and Landsat-based estimates of fire, land-cover and land-use. Agricultural burning in Belarus, Lithuania, and European Russia showed a strong and consistent seasonal geographic pattern from 2002 to 2012, with the majority of fires occurring from March to June and a smaller peak in July and August. Over this 11-year period, there was a decrease in both cropland and pasture burning throughout the region. For Smolensk Oblast, a Russian administrative region with comparable agro-environmental conditions to Belarus and Lithuania, a detailed analysis of Landsat-based burned area estimations for croplands, pastures and field data collected in summer 2014 showed that the agricultural burning area can be up to 10 times larger than the 1 km MODIS active fire estimates. Using the annual MODIS and Landsat-based burned area estimations, we identified 25 carbon, particulate matter, volatile organic carbon (VOCs), and harmful air pollutants (HAPs) emissions for all agricultural burning, including both croplands and pastures. In general, European Russia is the main source of agricultural burning emissions. Lithuania and Belarus have relatively minor contributions. Indeed, emissions from certain agricultural burning air pollutants in European Russia are so large that they are equivalent to 5 % of emissions from all sectors (industry, energy, transportation, all sources of fire) in Lithuania and likely in other neighboring Eastern European countries.

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Copyright © 2017, Springer Nature. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42638-9_9

Publication Title

Land-Cover and Land-Use Changes in Eastern Europe after the Collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991