Exploring Environmental History
A transformed landscape: the steppes of Ukraine and Russia
The steppes of Ukraine and Russia were once a sea of grass on rolling plains on which pastoral nomadic peoples grazed their herds of livestock. From the eighteenth century, the steppes have been transformed into a major agricultural region. This process started after the region was annexed to the Russian Empire and settled by migrants from forested landscapes in central and northern Russia and Ukraine and also from central Europe. By the twentieth century, the former steppe landscape had almost disappeared, save a few remnants protected in nature reserves (zapovedniki). In this podcast episode, David Moon, professor of Russian history at Durham University, UK, talks about his recent visit to the Ukrainian steppes. In addition to conventional historical research in archives and libraries in Odessa, he travelled through the steppes, visited nature reserves, and met scientists to help him understand how the landscape had been transformed over time. This episode provides fascinating insights into the environmental history of the steppes and the way that environmental historians go about studying the history of landscapes and environments.
Documentary on One
DocArchive: The Permanent Way
A documentary on railway men as told by people who have worked the tracks, telling the story of rail transit in Ireland from steam to electric. (Broadcast in 1985)