A History of Russian Forestry and its Leaders
"Not by the mind is Russia understood,
"Russian Forests are not only our national property
To western foresters and others, the forests and forestry of Russia have long been an enigma. Yet as the following chapters describe, the history of Russia's forestry and its leaders is long, rich, and significant. The contributions of Russian forests have for too long been poorly understood and undervalued in the western world.
With this book, we hope readers will gain a sense of appreciation for this magnificent country, its rich history, and some of its past great foresters, scientists, and educators. There is much to learn from others around the world, and with changes taking place in the "new" Russia, we have an opportunity to share with each other in a manner which has not been previously possible.
For foresters in the western world, this historical perspective was available previously only in small pieces and brief vignettes. Yet our past and present problems, and scientific developments have much in common. How can we not benefit by working together, pooling our knowledge and energies to manage and care for the world's forests? What synergies and new innovations will the future bring?
Russian foresters face many problems and opportunities as the Russian transition continues into the future. Will there be difficulties and mistakes? Of course! but can a country with such a proud history of forestry innovators and innovations not find a sound and proper path to the future? Of course it can and will!
It is imperative that forests of Russia are properly and sustainably cared for and managed. This is an issue not only for Russia's future, but also for the peoples of the world. The rich Russian forests play a vital role in the health of planet earth and in providing forest products and amenities necessary for the world's growing population.
Russia is a vast area covering approximately 6.6 million square miles or an area nearly twice as large as the United States. Russian forests comprise 22% of the world's total forests and over half of the world coniferous forest area and world coniferous growing stock.
The following words by Valery Shubin, Chief of the Federal Forest Service of Russia, (Russian Forests, 1997) are wise and show promise that Russia will have forestry leaders, scientists, and educators to meet the challenges of the future and to build on the country's rich history:
Regarding the amount and diversity of their ecological functions, forests are of special value as compared with other natural complexes. They provide for regulation and cleaning of water flows, soil conservancy and improvement in natural fertility, the most complete conservation of genetic diversity, enrichment of atmosphere with oxygen, prevention of air pollution and formation of a climate.
Forests are a source of many ecologically clean food resources for satisfying diverse needs of people; they represent a human environment conducive to maintaining people's spiritual and physical health. Therefore, forests serve as a central link in nature conservancy and natural regulation of overwhelming majority of environmental processes. It is the forests that are a natural base contributing to human survival.
Maintenance and enhancement of national forest resources, the principal goal of efforts of the Federal Forest Service of Russia, can be attained by means of implementation of sustainable forest management. This means that forestry should ensure a sound use of forest resources, functions and benefits that are of value for present and future needs of human civilization. Of special value is the balance of interests of different population groups, industries and forest administration bodies, with respect to forest utilization within specific areas, available timber and nonwood resources, their processing, development of relevant economic structures providing for the employment of all population groups, without causing any damage to environmental quality and biodiversity of forests.
This book was written for the non-Russian reader. The reason to write the book was obvious: to acquaint western foresters with the leading figures of Russian forestry and their work. Russian authors have been frustrated by limited opportunities to publish in the West and western foresters have had an unfulfilled curiosity about Russia. An answer to the eternal question faced by Russian authors, how to get published, was found when the Federal Forest Service of Russia, the U.S. Forest Service, and Washington State University began collaborating on several projects. The authors became professional colleagues and friends, and decided to jointly produce this book.
This book is intended for scientists, students, and specialists in the fields of forest ecology, forest use, forest reclamation, forest regulation, forest protection and preservation, and other aspects of forestry. The authors hope the book will also be useful to those interested in forest history and policy development, environmental science and resource use.
We hope this book enlightens, entertains, and opens new doors for communication between Russian and English speaking peoples on the wise use and conservation of soil and vegetation resources that we jointly depend upon for our continued well-being.
The authors express their deep gratitude to Susan Graham and Matvei Finkel of Russian-American Island in Spokane, Washington for translating Russian portions of the manuscript into English, to Dennis Brown, Washington State University, for editorial assistance, and to Marlene Guse of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University for publication layout and design.
The work was carried out in accordance with an agreement between the Federal Forest Service of Russia and the U.S. Forest Service, and through sponsorship by the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.
Ye. P. Kuzmichev, Moscow, Russia
D. M. Baumgartner, Pullman, Washington
R. L. Everett, Wenatchee, Washington