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.




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.


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