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.



New ideas concerning the spruce forests origin and stability in Archangelsk region

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.


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