The last large intact forests in Northwest Russia

Protection and sustainable use

image of The last large intact forests in Northwest Russia

The forests of Fennoscandia have been in human use for many purposes for centuries, and through the last decades industrialized and cultivated in a manner that can change their ecological function with respect to biodiversity at species and ecosystem levels. In Northwest Russia we can still find large, indigenous forests where human impact is low. They represent the last intact western taiga ecosystems of high value for biodiversity preservation in Russia and Fennoscandia as reservoirs and source habitats for future dispersal of taiga species. The Conference and Workshop in Steinkjer 2007 focused on these matters, but also the ecological importance of these forests for rural culture, socio-economic importance, industrial values and how protection and sustainable societies could go hand in hand. Many of the presentations given at the conference and workshop are here presented together with the Summary and Closing Statement worked out at the end of the sessions. The presentations cover many aspects from ecology, history and culture, conservation and management strategies, inventory tools for defining habitats of specific value to biodiversity, as well as implementation of environmental issues into the forestry laws and certification and educational tools for developing sustainable societies in a broad scale.



Lierne municipality; its nature, history and local culture,

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).


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