Russian old-growth forests
Old-growth forests (ancient forests, primeval forests, natural undisturbed forests
etc.) are today the subject of hot debates between "greens" and forest industries both
in Russia and worldwide. In many countries, the campaign against logging of old-growth forests
is today one of the remarkable factors influencing policies and practices of the world largest
timber industries and the behavior of millions of forest products consumers.
Being the main receptacles of the natural forest biodiversity, old-growth forests, without
any doubts are the most threatened natural ecosystems in Europe today.
Relatively large tracts – more than 20,000 to 25,000 hectares in size – of European old-growth
forests have now remained only in Russia, therefor these sites are of international importance.
In this section, You could learn more about this issue how it is seen by
Russian NGOs' Forest Club members.
The definition of the old-growth forests we use in this section is the same as that we use in our practical work:
Old-growth forests are forests originated through natural successions and have not experienced significant
human impact over a long period of time.
Under significant human impact we understand:
- clearcutting or intensive selective logging;
- large scale human-induced fires;
- intensive and regular application of chemicals such as pesticides, herbicide, fertilizers, etc.;
- severe industrial pollution;
- forest reclamation;
- intensive recreation, etc.
Under the long period of time we understand the time, which exceeds
the lifetime of the dominant tree species for a particular forest type.
You could also read other definitions of such forests used
by different international organizations. Recognizing their value and userfulness, in our practical work
in Russia, however, we use our definition, which is more relevant to the Russian situation.
In this section, You could find information on the following issues:
Ecology and specific features of the old-growth forests
Here we will tell You about old-growth forests as ecosystems, their structure, disturbance
regimes and natural mechanisms of their sustainability. From here You could also learn other features
of old-growth forests and their natural values. We will explain what is the importance of old-growth forests
and why we think they should be protected.
Old-growth forests - where in Russia?
To protect the old-growth forests we have to first learn where they are located.
Here You will find an overview of various old-growth mapping projects all over Russia.
Both finished and running projects are listed.
Atlas of Russia’s Intact Forest Landscapes
The LAST Intact Forest Landscapes of Northern European Russia
Alexey Yu. Yaroshenko, Peter V. Potapov, Svetlana A. Turubanova
Mapping of intact forest landscapes in northern European Russia using high-resolution satellite images - methods and results
The Last of The Last: The Old-growth Forests of Boreal Europe
by Dmitry Aksenov, Mikhail Karpachevskiy, Sarah Lloyd, and Alexei Yaroshenko
Editor Sarah Lloyd Moscow. Taiga Rescue Network. 1999.
The Taiga Rescue Network report and maps of the old-growth forests of Northern Europe.
Old-growth forests under threat
Old-growth forests is one of the most threatened ecosystems today, either in Russia or elsewhere in the world.
Here we will make an overview of all major threats to the old-growth forests in Russia now.
The today's conservation status of the old-growth forests
Here You will find the overview of the current protection status of old-growth forests in Russia.
You could also learn about the Russian system of protected areas and opportunities for forest conservation
within the frame of the Russian forestry.
Russian NGOs demands concerning old-growth forests conservation
You could read what are NGOs demands on the old-growth forests.