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POBEDITELI  Soldiers of the Great War

Old-growth forest in Komi Republic

Russian old-growth forests – where they are located?

Old-growth forests protection has always been one of the priorities of the Russian conservation movement. However, it is difficult to protect them without knowing where they are located.

In many cases the luck of information about old-growth location resulted in missing the most valuable forests unprotected, while the protection status has been applied to less valuable forest areas or even only to those ones, which timber companies have voluntarily agreed to leave for conservation. The last option definitely does not lead to adequate biodiversity conservation.

The information about old-growth location is also important for timber companies, which would like to avoid environmental conflicts and introduce environmentally responsible forestry. The Karelian case study has clearly shown this.

Here below we listed a few successful attempts to apply analyses for identifying relatively little-disturbed forest ecosystems on the regional and interregional levels are known in the Russian conservation movement:

  • European Russian North
    The mapping of only the largest (more them 100 thousand hectares) massives of little-disturbed forest in European Russia. Made by the Forest Club organizations (Biodiversity Conservation Center, Greenpeace Russia, Socio-Ecological Union) in 1999. The following regions have been covered: Murmansk oblast', Arkhangelsk oblast', Vologda oblast', Perm' oblast', Karelia Republic, Komi Republic and Komi-Permjatsky autonomous okrug.
  • 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

  • Atlas of Russias Intact Forest Landscapes

  • The Last of The Last 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.

    This publication is the result of the Old-growth Mapping Project conducted by a number of the TRN participants over last few years. It includes the old-growth forest maps of Northern Europe covering four countries: Finaland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

  • The Last Frontier Forests Report
    issued by World Resources Institute in 1997. The report also cover the whole Russia. The rather general map represents only areas more then 4 tousands sq.km. in size without anthropogenic infostructure. This map is good only for general overview.

Some more earlier historical examples also include:

  • 1984-87 - Analysis of the little-disturbed forests remained in Nizhny Novgorod Region conducted by the Druzhina (Student Corps) for Nature Conservation of Nizhny Novgorod State University, and then by the Dront Ecological Center. This analysis became the basis of the entire program of biodiversity conservation and protected areas networking in the region.
  • 1980s to early 1990s - Search for intact plots of broad-leaved forests in European Russia. Made by the team of the scientists from different institutions. Now the core of the team works in Putchino State University. One of the results of this work was the creation of the Kaluzhskie Zaseki (abatis lines) Zapovednik (in Kaluga Region), which preserves a unique tract of little-disturbed broad-leaved forests.

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