We consider the current tendencies in the agricultural production of Siberia’s steppe regions and the processes that are responsible for the current state and future utilization of pastures. It is shown that the ongoing reduction in livestock population, combined with a decrease in sown areas, has led to an increase in natural meadowlands, and to a widespread occurrence of post-pasture demutational successions. We outline the digression and demutation stages of steppe and sandy-steppe pastures and identify the features of their similarity and difference associated with resistance to the pasture load. It is shown that overgrazing and underutilization decrease their natural potential. We have defined the degradation and desertification criteria for pastures and priorities of their utilization.Keywords: arid territories, steppe pastures, digression, demutation, degradation criteria, natural potential.