Regionalization, physical-geographic

Regionalization, physical-geographic. A territorial subdivision of the surface of a country or territory into parts that differ from one another in their natural properties. The physical-geographic regionalization of Ukraine is hampered by the fact that, with the exception of a few mountainous areas, variation in relief is small. Consequently the physical-geographic regionalization of Ukraine must incorporate other components of the landscape, such as drainage basin, soils, and vegetation.

The first attempts at physical-geographic regionalization of Ukrainian lands in the early 20th century were associated with the regionalization of European Russia (by Vasilii Dokuchaev and Gavriil Tanfilev) and of historical Poland (by Eugeniusz Romer). They had a general character. More precise physical-geographic regionalization of Ukraine was accomplished in the 1920s by Boris Lichkov, who delineated seven regions, and by Pavlo Tutkovsky, who distinguished seven landscape types. The physical-geographic regionalization by Stepan Rudnytsky was considerably more comprehensive and placed all Ukrainian lands in 25 regions on the basis of geomorphological criteria. That regionalization has retained its significance to the present day.

More recent physical-geographic regionalization includes that of Kostiantyn Vobly (1945), who subdivided the Ukrainian SSR into the Polisia, the forest-steppe, and the steppe zones, and the mountain zone of the Carpathian Mountains and Subcaucasia, and within those zones distinguished nine regions. Beginning in 1957 physical-geographic regionalization was revitalized by the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education of Ukraine for agricultural purposes. Among the schemes formulated was one for the agroclimatic regionalization of Ukraine, which appeared in Atlas sil's'koho hospodarstva Ukraïns'koï RSR (Agricultural Atlas of the Ukrainian SSR, 1958) and involved the division of the territory into five zones (forest, forest-steppe, steppe, Carpathian Mountains, and Crimean Mountains) and 25 regions. The partition of the republic’s territory into five zones became standard practice for subsequent physical-geographic regionalization.

The subdivision of the five zones into varying numbers of smaller regions was commonly undertaken on the basis of geomorphological criteria. A 1962 physical-geographic regionalization by V. Popov, A. Lanko, Oleksander Marynych, and O. Poryvkina, for example, featured the five zones subdivided into 47 regions and 28 subregions. Later Marynych (1969), in the Ukraine volume of an all-Union regional geography series, formulated a simplified physical-geographic regionalization that included the same five zones but only 22 regions. In a 1969 university geography textbook Lanko, Marynych, and M. Shcherban provided a physical-geographic regionalization consisting of the five zones described previously, but subdivided into eight provinces and 50 regions. Lanko, Marynych, Popov, Poryvkina, and N. Syrota, in the 1972 Ukrainian SSR and Moldavian SSR volume of an all-Union series on natural conditions and physical resources, presented a scheme of physical-geographic regionalization consisting of the five zones subdivided into 18 provinces and 56 regions. In a 1982 university textbook on the physical geography of Ukraine, Marynych, Lanko, Shcherban, and P. Shyshchenko revised that scheme and subdivided the five zones into 53 regions. The more recent physical-geographic regionalization was done by Marynych, H. Parkhomenko, and V. Pashchenko in a 1990 text that subdivided the Ukrainian SSR into two mountain ‘countries’ and three lowland ‘zones.’ In that scheme the steppe zone was further differentiated into three ‘subzones,’ and then the forest-steppe and the steppe zones divided into provinces. Finally, both the ‘countries’ and the subunits of the ‘zones’ were subdivided into 57 regions.

In addition to those general schemes of the physical-geographic regionalization of the Ukrainian SSR, there were various regionalizations that involved the use of a single set of criteria. One example is Petro Tsys’s 1962 text on the geomorphology of Ukraine, which involved only geomorphological criteria and resulted in the subdivision of the republic into 18 provinces, 10 subprovinces, and 109 regions. A subsequent geomorphological regionalization by Yu. Grubrin (1972) provided for 11 provinces and 107 regions. Similar examples can be found for agroclimatic regionalization, agro-soil regionalization, geobotanical regionalization, and the like.

Dokuchaev, Vasilii. Zony prirody i klassifikatsiia pochv (Saint Petersburg 1900)
Lichkov, Boris. Estestvennye raiony Ukrainy (Kyiv 1922)
Tutkovs'kyi, Pavlo. Pryrodna raionizatsiia Ukraïny (Kyiv 1922)
Rudnyts'kyi, Stepan. Osnovy zemleznannia Ukraïny, vol 1 (Lviv 1924)
Atlas sil's'koho hospodarstva Ukraïns'koï RSR (Kyiv 1958)
Trudy Nauchnogo soveshchaniia po prirodno-geograficheskomu raionirovaniiu Ukrainskoi SSR (Kyiv 1961)
Popov, Viktor; Lan'ko, Andrei; Marinich, Aleksandr; Poryvkina, O. ‘Fiziko-geograficheskoe raionirovanie,’ in Atlas Ukrainskoi SSR i Moldavskoi SSR (Kyiv 1962)
Tsys', Petro. Heomorfolohiia URSR (Lviv 1962)
Lan'ko, Andrii; Marynych, Oleksandr; Shcherban', Mykhailo. Fizychna heohrafiia Ukraïns'koï RSR (Kyiv 1969)
Grubrin, Iu. ‘Geomorfologicheskoe raionirovanie,’ in Prirodnye usloviia i estestvennye resursy SSSR: Ukraina i Moldaviia (Moscow 1972)
Lan’ko, Andrei; Marinich, Aleksandr; Popov, Viktor; Poryvkina, O.; Sirota, Nazar. ‘Prirodnoe raionirovanie,’ in Prirodnye usloviia i estestvennye resursy SSSR: Ukraina i Moldaviia (Moscow 1972)
Marynych, Oleksandr; Lan'ko, Andrii; Shcherban', Mykhailo; Shyshchenko, Petro. Fizychna heohrafiia Ukraïns'koï RSR (Kyiv 1982)

Volodymyr Kubijovyč, Ihor Stebelsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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