Table of Contents

  • The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (DN) and Nord- Trxndelag University College (HiNT) decided in autumn 2005 to apply Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) for financial support to arrange a Nordic-Russian conference with focus on protection and sustainable use of the last large intact forests in northwest Russia which is important to preserve western taiga biodiversity. The reason for this was partly that as Fennoscandian forests now are almost totally exploited over time, and very few and mostly also very small areas are left with pristine oldgrowth forests, Russia still have some large areas of forests lands left where ecological processes are still going on with only small impact of human activity (except for global air-pollution etc). Russian environment authorities, as well as Russian Forestry authorities have now, as well as Russian and Nordic NGO's, and Nordic environmental authorities and Russian and Nordic research institutions have recognized that protection of these forests is important to have future possibilities to study natural ecological processes in western taiga forests, and to preserve its biodiversity. In addition - we have also observed and understood the fact that protection of such forests are complicated also by the fact that forestry activities is a basic for local communities as well as regional and national economy in North-West Russia. In this way socio-cultural values have to be addressed as well as environmental conservation needs.

  • New challenges are facing our forest and woodland landscapes. An increasing number of goods and services should be provided more efficiently in the same forest. At the same time decisions about what actually takes place locally is determined more and more at transnational and even global levels. In addition, energy supply and global climate change scenarios suggest that increased levels of uncertainty need to be handled. Such multilevel links means that use of forests and woodland imply extensive export of both positive and negative economic, ecological and socio-cultural footprints at different scales, usually without being aware of them.

  • The great grey owl (Strix nebulosa) was selected as a symbol species for this conference. It is a species widely distributed in the northern taiga forest region of both Eurasia and North America.

  • The description of the sacred groves of Kenozero Land is found in my article "Solovetsky Green Meridian" and SNS "svyashschennye roshschi" (sacred groves) of the National Park "Kenozersky" in the light of Delos Initiative" in this publication. The analogous of the sacred groves in Kenozero can also be found in all the taiga forests of West Siberia. Among the Khanty and Mansy peoples there are very strong traditions of sacred groves of coniferous trees, connected to shamanism. An example I would like to mention is the sacred grove Khalev-Oyka, which is a sanctuary of the Mansy people community of the village Aneevo in the West Siberia, located 5 km from the point where river Posol flows to the river Sosva. The sanctuary is described by Izmail Gemuev (1990), who visited the place in 1986. A narrow path follows the taiga forest for about 0.5 km from the village Aneevo to this sacred grove. There is a glade in the centre of this sacred grove. Gemuev describes a post on the glade, with the top of it covered by a birch bark "cap". There is a thin pole fastened to the post by several cloths. On a photo in his article, (p. 79), we can see another post with several clothes fastened to a spruce tree. I would like to mention the parallel with pelena on the Holy crosses of Kenozero Lake Area and cloths on the post and a spruce tree of the sacred grove Khalev-Oyka (Figure 1).

  • The 2. International Workshop "Delos2" was held 24-28 October 2007 in Ouranopois (Greece). The workshop was organized within the framework of The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). The organizer of the workshop was the Mediterranean Institute of Nature and Anthropos (MedINA), Athens, Greece. The steering committee of the workshop led by the Joint co-ordinators of the IUCN Delos Initiative: the Director of MedINA, Professor Thymio Papayannis, and Dr. Josef Maria Mallarach (President of "Silene" Association, Spain). The participants of the workshop were 22 experts from 12 countries.

  • Nowadays a large (more than 1,000,000 ha) massive of intact taiga forests in the area between Severnaya Dvina and Pinega Rivers are very unique and valuable (Figure 1). For an evaluation of contemporary conditions of forests, biodiversity and cultural heritage of this territory, the International Environmental Expedition "Yula-2001" to the Basin of Yula River (Pinezhsky and Vinogradovsky districts of Archangel oblast) was organized in the year 2001 (Chervyakov et al. 2007).

  • It is known, that by present time, the last large intact forest lands in Europe are found only on the territory of Russia, where the Arkhangelsk Oblast takes a special place. The area of such forest lands here is about 10 million ha. Boreal forest lands in this region basically are situated in its northern part and spread from western up to eastern borders of the region (Figure 1).

  • Intactness, i.e. the absence of human disturbance, is a quality of a natural landscape that cannot be artificially restored. Intact forest landscapes (IFL) are necessary for protection of stable populations of large animals that are especially sensitive to human impact or habitat change, lakes and wetlands and the natural dynamics of forest ecosystems. Intact forest landscapes (according to definition of Global Forest Watch) are nature areas that

  • Long-term and large-scale logging leads to disappearance of the last areas of primeval (native) taiga forests in Europe. They may be lost or fragmented in the coming decades. Preservation of the remaining indigenous forests should in this regard be organized into different categories of protected areas to secure

  • This paper presents results from an excursion into the river basins of Yula and Ura in Pinega and Vinogradovsky Rajons in Arkhangelsk Oblast in the spring of 2005. The purpose was to investigate and map some of the most common forest types in this region.

  • Focus upon landscape ecology, - the study of the relationship between spatial pattern and ecological processes on landscape scales and organizational levels, have had an increased attention during the last decades (Wu 2006). Furthermore, landscape ecology has important links to application- oriented disciplines such as forestry. Linked to the landscape ecology aspect are the theory of "Island biogeography" (MacArthur & Wilson 1967) and its "cousin", the "Metapopulation theory" (Levins 1967). Those theories represent important tools in conservation biology.

  • Clear-felling was introduced in the Fennoscandian boreal coniferous forest in late 1950's and early 1960's, and has thereafter become the leading logging practice. Simultaneously, extensive construction of forest roads allowed the exploitation of new areas and the use of heavy trucks for transport. This increased exploitation resulted in a rising rate of fragmentation and degeneration of old-growth forest habitats, thus reducing the natural biodiversity in a substantial part of this biome (Esseen et al. 1992, Edenius & Elmberg 1996, Andrin 1997); e.g. many well-documented negative impacts for avian fauna have been reported (Sandstrvm 1991, Angelstam 1992, Andrin 1994, Edenius & Elmberg 1996, McCollin 1998, Chalfoun et al. 2002, Laiolo et al. 2004). In substantially fragmented landscapes some bird species may have requirements that are greater than the mean size of the remaining patches (Andrin 1997). Therefore the spatial habitat configurations (e.g. the graininess of the fragmented old-growth patches) of a forest landscape become most important for its suitability as a breeding area for these species. From Finland it is reported that some "taiga-species" only can maintain their "natural" population densities within continuous "virgin" forest landscapes of significant magnitude, e.g. in the order of 1,000 km2 (Virkkala 1991).

  • Scientists have in the 1960-70's gained a good understanding of oldgrowth spruce forests. It was reflected in publications of leading foresters- scientists: Voropanov 1950, Semechkin 1970, Kasimirov 1971, Volkov & Kasimirov 1971, Volkov & Direnkov 1971, Stoljarov & Kuznetsova 1973). In accordance with this understanding, the northern spruce forests have grown on today's occupied territory in several thousand years. Tolmachev's (1954) studies in his monograph "Addition to the history of dark coniferous taiga origin and development" subpolar and berenegizis hypotheses of taiga origin under the tertiary and quaternary period. The territory of Archangelsk Oblast underwent the last Valdai glaciations, and these forests age may be estimated 10 thousand years. Redko (1981) stated that after the glaciation the area got quickly covered with forests similar to modern remainders of intact forests by their tree species composition. During this time a natural change of tree generations have occurred and peculiar age structure have formed in stands, particularly combination of absolute multiple-aged, relative multiple-aged, stepwise multiple-aged cyclic multiple-aged stands which protects their internal stability. Some of those stands maintain identical forest taxation parameters infinitely long due to even ages' distribution (absolute multiple- aged stands). In some other cases the reforestation and mortality equilibrium is disturbed by external destructive factors and those stands have been exposed to cyclical fluctuations. After series of the fluctuations the system aims to revert to the steady state or homeostasis (Borisov 1966). Other scientists call it climax forest.

  • Russia is often quoted as one of few European countries in which large areas of virgin forest still remains. However, the situation is rapidly deteriorating and the remaining intact forests in the European Russia are mainly situated in the northern part next to the arctic tundra. Forests and woodlands in the southern boreal, boreonemoral and nemoral Russia are to a large extent as fragmented and exposed to human impact as the correspondent forest types in Western and Central Europe. Temperate broadleaf forest is one of the most severely disturbed and endangered biomes worldwide, nevertheless it is very important for maintenance of biodiversity in the global scale. The situation in the forests of European Russia is of utmost importance also for the biodiversity in Northern and Central Europe as a whole.

  • Considerations to and conservation of biodiversity is one of the drivers affecting the development of the sustainable forest management concept. Successful maintenance of biodiversity can be defined as all naturally occurring species with population existing in viable populations and found in representative and functional stable or dynamic habitat networks that are maintained by ecosystem processes at multiple spatial and temporal scales. The extent to which biodiversity is maintained is thus a matter of levels of ambition: (1) species may be present, but not in viable populations; (2) viable populations may be present, but only those that are not specialized on natural forest structures or having large area requirements; (3) communities of all naturally occurring species of the representative ecosystems of an ecoregion are present, but large scale disturbances and global change can threat ecological integrity, and (4) ecosystems and governance systems have adaptive capacity and form resilient socialecological systems (=landscapes). As a base for reaching these different levels of ambitions mapping of ecosystems at multiple spatial scales regarding the quality, size, connectivity and matrix surrounding (e.g., forest, mire complexes, tundra, agricultural land etc.) the forest areas of high conservation value is necessary. In addition, actors and stakeholders involved with biodiversity conservation should be made aware that there are often thresholds for habitat loss, which if exceeded, will lead to loss of biodiversity. A rule of thumb is that if more than 70-80% of natural forest components are lost population viability for individual species is threatened. Performance targets for ecosystem integrity and resilience remain to be formulated. Forest landscapes with a long history of intensive management in Fennoscandia are below such thresholds. Mapping of forests with high conservation value provide estimates of the assets for functional habitat networks. Policy analyses should then be made to determine what level of ambition of biodiversity maintenance is desired. Then one can assess the possibility of reaching this ambition by combining protection, management and restoration of forest ecosystems and processes at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Tools for biodiversity assessments are available for systematic conservation planning for the maintenance of biodiversity at strategic, tactical and operational levels. Three examples are (1) securing large intact forest landscapes within each ecoregion; (2) maintain connectivity for terrestrial and aquatic infrastructures of landscapes; (3) selecting appropriate systems for management and governance that match the social-ecological context.

  • Global, national and business policies about natural resource management state that economic, environmental and socio-cultural dimensions should be satisfied and balanced. However, currently an increasing number of actors desire more of an increasing range of goods, services and values from forest landscapes' renewable resources. This may result in unsustainable use and conflicts, but provides also opportunities for novel innovative and synergistic collaboration among sectors at multiple levels. Two important challenges are to develop (1) accounting systems for different sustainability dimensions so that actors and stakeholders are provided with transparent information about states and trends, and (2) tools for adaptive governance and management at multiple scales. A large number of concepts for implementation of sustainability policies in actual landscapes have been developed, and local and regional initiatives of them are implemented globally. These initiatives provide excellent opportunities for learning towards sustainable landscapes and adaptive capacity in different contexts. However, by and large this knowledge is often local, and exchange of experiences is limited. To learn from existing experiences it is necessary to collect data sets that represent different landscape approaches and thus multiple landscapes or management units as case studies. Ultimately new knowledge can be compiled and compared, and experiences and approaches for learning be disseminated about both development successes and failures in different contexts. We use multiple landscapes in Europe's West and East as case studies and "landscape laboratories" for transdisciplinary knowledge production and learning. This implies use and integration of both natural and human sciences, in close collaboration with actors and stakeholders representing multiple sectors and levels. The focus is on how forest landscape goods, ecosystem services and values are produced, used, managed and governed in different social-ecological contexts. Our suite of landscapes represents gradients in two main dimensions. The first is the variation in the history of forest landscape use ranging from harvesting large intact old-growth forest areas in the periphery of economic development to areas with a long history of sustained wood yield management closer to the market. The second is the way forest landscape governance is carried out, ranging from non-industrial private ownership and company to state ownership in Fennoscandia and forest resource leasing systems in NW Russia. We describe a systematic step-wise approach to support sustainable development and sustainability by integrative research. New approaches to transdisciplinary knowledge production and learning for sustainable landscapes at local to global levels are discussed. Finally, we argue for the need of mutual learning based on networking and sharing of experiences, and discuss the challenges associated to this, among people, partners and landscapes, as well as the responsibility of donors and funding agencies.

  • The OAO "Ust-Pokshengsky LPH" is a large, specialized forest harvesting company. The company is engaged in the following kinds of activities: Wood harvesting, transporting and shipment. The general area of forest site rented for logging in the territory of Karpogorsky Forest Management Unit makes 458,185 ha with an annual harvested volume of 363,600 m3 per year, which is in accordance with the allowable cutting volume. In 2004, the joint-stock company "Ust-Pokshengsky LPH" was assigned the certificate that its methods of forest management corresponded to the criteria of Forest Trustee Advice. It means, that the activity of the enterprise corresponded to the legislation, the rights of the workers and local population, and that the forest resources are rationally used and the forests of high nature protection importance are saved. The especially protected territories and zones of untouched forests in The UPLHPs rented area makes 29% of the total forest area of rent. The necessity for certification is called for and demanded out of social, economic and ecological reasons. The presence of the Certificate creates the possibility to export our forest products on the ecologically sensitive markets in Europe. It in turn guarantees for the staff and local community

  • The total area of mainland Norway is 324,000 km2, of which one third is mountainous (Figure 1). Another 38% of the total area is forest and other wooded land. This comprises 45% spruce, 33% pine and 15% birch. Only 12% of the productive forest of Norway is state owned, while the remaining is privately owned by big forest owners down to small family farms.

  • Forestry is important in Norway as a contributor to overall national added value. To put this in a proper economical perspective the local joint trade association of foresters in central Norway (Skognfringa i Midt-Norge) presented an illustration as a result of one day working with a modern harvester as follows

  • The new Forest Code providing federal forest lands ownership was adopted in Russia in December 2006. The new Forest Code differentiates authorities in forest relations between federal state agencies and state agencies of the Russian Federation subjects.

  • According to the new Forest Code, the structure of state authorities for forestry and system of forest relations were to be reformed based on the following conditions

  • FSC certification in Russia is currently one of leading factors which support responsible forest management of forests. There is no other single initiative or activity, which have similar positive impact on forest companies as the FSC certification. NGO's campaigns against some companies in Karelia, Archangelsk and other regions in the 1990's and beginning of the 2000's initiated strong interest of several companies in FSC certification. FSC certification requirements were seen both by the companies and NGO's as the acceptable compromise of ecological, social and economic aspects of forest management. Large massives of intact forests in North- West Russia were first identified by NGO's (Greenpeace, Socioecological union, Center of wildlife protection) in the middle of the 1990's.

  • On the territory of Arkhangelsk Oblast there are currently 108 specially protected natural areas (PAs) with a total area of 6,500,000 Ha. among which 5 are protected areas of federal significance (Pinezhskiy State Nature Reserve, Vodlozersky National Park, Kenozersky National Park, Siyskiy Biological Reserve, and Franz Josef Land Landscape Reserve) and of regional significance (32 reserves and 71 natural monuments). Two national parks "Onega Pomorie" and "Russian North" are proposed as new National Parks and in the process of being designed.

  • Lierne municipality is one of the largest Norwegian municipalities with a total area of ≈ 3,000 km2 (300,000 Ha). Approx. 60% of the area is mountains above tree-line. Norway's National Forests own 51% of the area, but only 20% of the productive forests. The municipal itself owns 4,070 Ha, including 2,230 ha productive forests, one forest company owns 8,420 ha (4,540 ha productive forests), and 46,900 ha of productive forests are distributed by 350 private owners. The forest is dominated by spruce (Picea abies), partly mixed with birch (Betula pubescens) in natural forests. The municipality is on the watershed between Norway and Sweden with 2 valleys draining east to Sweden and 2 westward into Norway. This gives the area a rather humid climate, but east-draining areas are in general drier. Due to mineral rich soil, the forests are rather productive, but stressed by the altitude and mountainous, cool climate. Vast areas are covered with luxurious herbs giving excellent grazing conditions for moose (Alces alces), domestic sheep (Ovis sp.) and bears (Ursus arctos).

  • The Norwegian State Forest is the operative manager of the common state land in Norway covering about 20% of whole Norway. There is relatively more common land in the north of Norway. Only about 5% of the property is land with productive forests, the rest is sub mountain forests and mountain areas (Figure 1).

  • As a final summarization of the workshop, a plenary discussion was held on central questions for the maintenance of ecological and socio-cultural values of large intact forests in Russia. The participants were asked in advance to prepare their own thoughts and reflections on 5 questions, which then were discussed in a plenary session. This session also included some presentations on how the Norwegian State Forests and the Nord-Trxndelag County administration play a role in regional development and the change of strategies for local living conditions, as a result of the implementation of national nature conservation efforts in this community. A brief transcript summary of the discussion on each question

  • Sustainable development as a continuous process and sustainability as a long-term goal have started to engage new actors and stakeholders in relation to the use of goods, ecosystem services and values in forests and woodlands. A key aspect is to match these resources with the identification and development of products that are desired on different markets. Management and governance in this new situation implies a need to include not only stand and local spatial scales, but also regional as well as national and international levels. However, an important challenge is to build bridges in a geographical area among actors involved with different sustainability dimensions, actors in different sectors and at different societal levels, and different disciplines to facilitate the need for production and exchange of knowledge. Communication, education and public awareness are critically important, together with the need for transparent information about the state and trends of ecological, economic, social and cultural/spiritual dimensions of landscapes as social-ecological systems. The term landscape approach captures this and can be operationalized by applying concepts such as Model Forest, Biosphere Reserve, and traditional village systems. In this paper we advocate an approach that supports communication, education and public awareness and that relies on landscapes as laboratories for learning and knowledge production. We stress that to implement policies about sustainable development and sustainability, the context of landscapes in terms of environmental history, biophysical conditions, cultural heritage and modes for government and governance in the landscape need to be considered. We illustrate this idea by reviewing the challenges in Sweden and NW Russia using two urbanrural gradients (Bergslagen and Moscow regions) and two large northern river catchments (Engermandlven and Pinega). Finally, we discuss the challenge of applied interdisciplinary knowledge production where practice, education and research are integrated to address and solve real world problems.

  • The safeguarding of large forested areas in order to reduce the loss of biodiversity and the vision of sustainability based on wise use of renewable natural resources is highly recognized by international fora like the European Union (EU), The Barents Council (BEAC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE).