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Licentiate thesis, 2014

Intensification of wood production in NW Russia's Komi Republic

Naumov, Vladimir


Globally, countries with forests and woodlands make attempts to manage their resources in sustainable way. In the boreal biome this has resulted in several policy documents regulating forest planning and operations at multiple levels of governance. For example, due to shortage of accessible forest intensified wood production is a priority in the Russian Federation. Intensification requires knowledge of the past use of boreal forest landscapes, as well as about effective silvicultural practices. I employed a case-study approach to understand the forest landscape history of local timber frontier in NW Russia’s Komi Republic (Paper 1), and made a comparative study of growth rates of young coniferous trees in NW Russia and Sweden (Paper 2). Three aspects of environmental history were examined in Paper 1: (1) changes in the natural environments of the past, (2) the technology or progress behind landscape development, (3) values, perception and ideology that supported changes. The results show that industrial utilization of boreal forest in NW Russia began in the end of 19th century, and attempts to intensify sustained-yield wood production were taken several times during the 20th century. In Komi the major industrial use of boreal forest started in 1927. Productive pine-dominated forests along rivers were harvested first. When transport infrastructures were developed spruce forests became accessible for harvest, and were logged and replaced by deciduous successions. However, pristine spruce forests along streams and those with a remote location remained. Forest landscape history thus provides knowledge about where forestry intensification could take place, as part of spatial planning that also considers the maintenance of green infrastructures for both human well-being and biodiversity. In paper 2 I tested the hypothesis that growth rates of young coniferous trees across latitudes in NW Russia and Sweden are the same. I therefore measured 5 long shoots of 30 young Scots pines and Norway spruces in 10 randomly selected stands in poor, mesic and rich site types at three latitudes in both countries. I did not find any significant difference in tree growth for Scots pine between the two countries. To conclude, introducing pre-commercial thinning widely is a prerequisite for sustained yield wood production. To satisfy increased needs for wood, as well as social and ecological dimensions of sustainable forest management, Russian and Soviet legacies of landscapes zoning approach should be maintained.


forest management; intensification; Sweden; NW Russia; Komi; landscape history; forest use history; tree growth; wood production

Published in

ISBN: 978-91-576-9248-1, eISBN: 978-91-576-9249-8
Publisher: Department of School for Forest Management, Swedish Unversity of Agricultural Sciences

    SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Economic History
    Forest Science

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