Vystosky, Georgy Nikolaevich

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(b. Nikitovka, chernigo gubernia, Russia, 19 February 1865; d. Kharkov, U.S.S.R., 6 April 1940), soil science, forestry.

Vysotsky entered the Petrovsky Agricultural Academy in 1886 and studied forestry, botany, and soil science. He began his scientific career in 1890 at the Berdyansk forest reserve, studying steppe forestry. In May 1892 he joined Dokusteppe forestry. In May 1892 he joined Dokuchaev’s expedition to Poltava and was manager of the Great Anadolian forest reserve in the Ukraine. The ideas of Dokuchaev and Morozov decisively influenced the formation of Vysotsky’s scientific views.

From 1904 to 1913 Vysotsky headed the reorganization in St. Petersburg of experimental forestry and also conducted field research in the region near Samara. In 1913 he directed projects for forestation of an artificial forest reserve on the steppe at Kiev. From 1918 Vysotsky taught at and worked for scientific organizations in Kiev, Simferopol, Minsk, and Kharkov; organized and headed experimental forestry research in Byelorussia and the Ukraine; and created and headed departments of forestry and forest management.

Vysotsky’s main achievement was the establishment of the scientific foundations of steppe forestry and forest improvement; in particular, he determined that the vegetation of steppes is primarily a combination of oak and shrubbery and showed that what were then considered “normal” types of steppe forests, with a predominance of elms, involved intensive transpiration of soil moisture. Vysotsky demonstrated the influence of a forest on the microclimate of planted areas and adjacent localities, and classified steppe conditions for local growth according to the degree of suitability for forests, and in relation to topography, snow accumulation, depth of groundwater, and presence of subsoil salts.

Vysotsky revealed why steppes are without forests, and in “Ergenya” he showed the evolution of steppe vegetation under human influence and demonstrated experimentally the influence of steppe forest cultivation on the agricultural harvest. He wrote general works on the moisture cycle in nature and on the main questions of forest hydrology, also elucidating the role of forest in the water cycle of the plains in European Russia. Vysotsky pointed out the regularities of the moisture cycle and the movement of salts in the soil in the stweppe and underforest, and developed the theory of gley—the formation of sticky clay layers–as a biochemical oxidation–reduction process.


I. Original Works. Vysotsky’s more than 200 writtings inclusde “Rastitelnost Veliko-Anadolskogo uchastka” (“Vegetation of the Great Anadolian District”), in Trudy ekspeditsii V. V. Dokuchaeya (“Works of the Dokuchaev Expedition”), II,pt.2(St. Peterburg, 1898); “Biologicheskie, pochvennye i fenologicheskie nablyudenia i issledovania v Veliko–Anadole 1892- 1893 gg.” (“Biological, Soil, and Phenological Observations and Research in Great Anadolia 1892-1893”), in Trudy opytnykh lesnichestv (“Works in Experimental Forestry” ; St. Petersbrug, 1901); Lesnye kultury v Mariupolskom opytnom lesnichestve, 1886-1900 (“Forest Culture in the Mariupol Forest Reserve…” ; St. Petersburg, 1901); “O nauchnykh issledovaniakh, kasayushchikhsya stepnogo lesorazvedenia” (“On Scientific Investigations Concerning Steppe Forest Culture”), in Lesnoy zhurnal (1901), no. 2; “Stepnoy illyuvy i struktura stepnykh pochv” (“Steppe Illuvium and the Structure of Steppe Soils”), in Pochvovedenie (1901),nos. 2–4, and (1902), no, 2; “Mikorizy dubovykh i sosnovysh seyantsev” (“Mycorrhizae of Oak and Pine seedlings”), in Lesopromyshelennyi vestnik (1902), no. 29; and “O stimulakh, prepyatstviakh i problemakh razvedenia lesa v stepyakh Rossii” (“On the Incentives, Obstacles, and Problems of Forest Culture on the Steppes of Russia”), in Trudy II Sezda deyateley selskokhozyaystvennogo opytnogo dela (“Wprks of the II Congress of Workbers in Experimental Agriculture”), I (St. petersbrug, 1902).

See also “O karte tipov mestoproizrastania” (“On a Map of Types of Local Growth”), in Sovremennya voprasy russkago selskogo khozyaystva (“Contemporary questions in Russian Agriculture” ; St. Petersbrug, 1904); “O vzaimnykh sootnosheniakh mezhdu lesnoy rastitelnostyu i vlagoyu, preimushchestvenno v yuzhnotusskikh stepyakh” (“On the Mutual Relations Between Forest Vegetation and Moisture, primarily on the Southern Russian Steppes”), in Trudy opytnykh lesnichestv (“Works in Experimental Forestry,” II; St. Petersburg, 1904); “K voprosu o vlianii lesa na nadzemnuyu vlazhnost v Rossii” (“On the Influence of the Forest on Underground Moisture in Russia”), in Trudy III Sezda deyateley selskokhzyaystvennogo opytnogo dela(“Works of the III Congress of Workers in Experimental Agriculture” ; St. Petersbrug, 1905); “Gley,” in Poachvovedeniie (1905), 7’ also in Lesnoy zhurnal (1906), no.3; “Ob oroklimaticheskikh osnovakh klassifikatsii pochv” (“On the Oroclimatic Bases of Soil Classification”), in Pochvovedenie (1906), 8, no.1; “pochvenno–botanicheskie issledovania v yushnykh Tulskikh zasekakh” (“Soil–Bontanical Research in the Southern Tula Abaits”), in Trudy opytnykh lesnichestv (“Works in Expweimental Forestry” ; St. Peterbrug, 1906); and “Ob usloviakh lesoproizrastania i lesorazvedenia v stepyakh Evropeyskoy Rossii” (“On the Conditions of Forest Growth and Forest Culture on the Steppes of European Russia”), in Lesnory zhurnal (1907), nos. 1–2.

Additional works are O lesorastitelnykh usloviakh rayona Samarskogo udelnogo okruga (“On Forest Growth Conditions of the Samara Region in a Apecific District”), 2 vols. (St. Petersburg, 1908- 1909); “Buzuluksky bor i ego okrestnosti” (“The Buzuluk Pine Forest and Its Surroundings”), in Lesnoy zhurnal (1909), no. 8: “Pochvoobrazovatelnye protsessy v peskakh” (“Soil-Forming Processes in Sands”), in Izvestiya Russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva, 47 , pt. 6 (1911); “Lesnye kultury stepnykh opytnykh lesnichestv s 1893 po 1907 gg.” (“Forest Cultures of the Steppe Experimental Forest Reserves 1893-1907”), in Trudy po lesnomu opytnomu delu v Rossii (“Works on Experimental Forestry in Russia”), no. 41 (St. Petersburg, 1912) “O dubravakh v Evropeyskoy Rossii” (“Oak Groves in European Russia”), in Lesnoy zhurnal (1913), nos. 1–2; “Ergenya, kulturno-fitologichesky ocherk” (“Ergenya, a Cultural-Phytological Sketch”), in Trudy byuro po prikladnoi botanike (1915), 10–11 ; “Izokarbonaty” (“Isocarbonates”), in Russki pochvoved (1915); and Lesa Ukrainy i uslovia ikh proizrastania i vozobnovlenia (“The Forest of the Ukraine and the Conditions of Their Growth and Renewal” ; Kiev, 1916).

Also see “Lesovodnye ocherki” (“Forestry Culture Notes”), in Zapiski Belorusskogo gosudarstvennogo instituta selskogo i lesnogo khozyaistva, 3 (1924); “Ocherki o pochve i rezhime gruntovykh vod” (“Sketches on Soil and Groundwater Conditions”), in Byulleten pochvoveda (1927), nos. 1–8; “O roli lesa v povyshenii uro zhaynosti” (“On the Role of the Forest in Increasing the Harvest”), in Lesnoe khozyaistvo (1929), 10–11; “Uchenie o lesnoy pertinentsii” (“Theory of Forest”), in Lesovedenia i kesovodstvo (“Forestry and Forest Culture” ; Leningrad, 1930); Materialy po izucheniyu vodookhrannoy i vodoreguliruyushchey roli lesov i bolot (“Materials for the study of the Water-Retaining and Water-Regulating Roles of Forest and Swamps” ; Moscow, 1937); O gidrogeologicheskon i meteorologicheskom vlianii lesov (“On the Hydrological and Meterorological Influence of Forest” ; Moscow, 1938); and his autobiography in Pochvovedenie (1941), no. 3.

II. Secondary Literature. See E. A. Danilov, “G. N. Vysotsky i strpnoe lesorazvedenie” (“Vysotsky and steppe Forest Culture”), in Pochvovedenie (1935), no. 4; A. G. Isachenko, G.N. Vysotsky—vydayushchysya otechestvenny geograf (“Vysotsky—Outstanding Native Geographer” ; Moscow, 1953); E. M. Lavrenko. “G. N. Vysotsky,” in Russkie botaniki, biografo-bibliografichesky slovar (“Russian Botanists, Biographical-Bibliographical Dictionary”), II (Moscow, 1947); P. S. Pogrebnyak, “G. N. Vysotsky,” in Vydayushchiesya deyateli otechestvennogo lesovodstva (“Outstanding Native Workers in Forest Culture” ’ Moscow, 1950); and “Georgy Nikolaevich Vysotsky, 1865-1940,” in Lyudirusskoy nauki (“People of Russian Science” ; Moscow, 1963); S. S., Sobolev, “G. N. Vysotsky i ego nauchnaya deyatelnost” (“Vysotsky and His Scientific Career”). in Pochvovedenie (1935), no. 4; M. E. Tkachenko, “Veliky agrolesomeliorator, pamyati akademika G. N. Vysotskogo” (“Great Improver of Forest Agriculture, Recollections of Academician G. N. Vysotsky”), in Lesnoekhozyaistvo (1940, no. 9; and A. A. Yarilov, “G. N. Vysotsky—sledopyt-geograf” (“Vysotgsky—Pathfinder-Geographer”), in Pochvovedenie (1941), no. 3.

Vera N. Fedchina