INTACT FORESTS OF HIGH CONSERVATION VALUE IN THE REPUBLIC OF KARELIA
Previous publications on intact (old growth) forests in Karelia:
- Map of Potential Old Growth Forests in the Republic of Karelia. This map was prepared in 1996—1998 by BCC, ISEU and Greenpeace Russia based on forest inventory data of 1979—1990s and detailed topographic maps. Maps with the accuracy to half a forest block (kvartal) show location of forest areas no less than 3 thousand hectares for northern Karelia and 1.8 thousand hectares for southern Karelia. This map became the basis for a logging moratorium introduced in the mid-1990s by Finnish and Swedish timber companies that procured timber in the Republic of Karelia and Murmansk Oblast. The map was regularly updated based on field surveys of particular areas.
Unfortunately, these maps existed mainly in paper form. One of the versions of these maps can be found here:
- The Last of the Last. Old-growth Forest of Boreal Europe (1999). (Aksenov D., Karpachevskiy, M. Lloyd S. and Yaroshenko A. S. Lloyd (Ed.), 1999, TRN: Moscow, 70 p.).
This Taiga Rescue Network’s publication incorporated information on the Republic of Karelia. For Karelia old growth forest areas no less than 3 thousand hectares were shown with the accuracy to a forest block (kvartal) (no less than 2 thousand hectares for southeastern Karelia). However, the kvartal grid was not shown. Forest blocks, in which old growth forest constituted less than 50%, were excluded. In fact, the map was based on the Map of Potential Old Growth Forests in the Republic of Karelia (see above), which was partly corrected using satellite imagery of 1995—1999 with 35—150 m per pixel resolution.
This map can be found on one of the following sites:
- Karelia. Map of Old-growth Forest Areas. Proposals of Russian NGOs on Ecological Optimization of Forest Management. Moscow. 2000. Russian NGO’s Forest Club. 2000, 14 p.
book-2000.rar, archive of maps form publication, 16 mb
This map became the first detailed publication that showed old growth forests in Karelia with the accuracy to a forest block. To the moment all earlier identified areas of potential old growth forest were visited and their borders were corrected using satellite imagery of 1997—2000 with 35 m per pixel resolution.
Until recently this map was used in procurement policies (logging moratorium) by a number of international and Russian timber companies operating in the area. In fact, the map was updated on an annual basis. Thus, blocks of old growth forest, harvesting in which was considered acceptable based on bilateral agreements between forest industries and conservation NGOs, were excluded from the map, as well as recent clearcuts. Therefore, this map showed not the contours of old growth forests but blocks that undoubtedly deserved protection or blocks, for which management (harvesting/conservation) status has not been regulated by bilateral agreements between forest industries and conservation NGOs. Until now the updates to this map have been never published. The map of 2007 that is being presented is a full replacement for the year 2000 publication, although, in contrast, it shows precise borders of all intact (old growth) forest tracts, irrelative of any compromised decisions on their management taken by stakeholders.
It is worth to note that as appeared from recent field surveys some intact forest tracts were mistakenly excluded from the logging moratorium in the year 2000 publication. The reason for such mistakes was wrong interpretation of low quality and low resolution imagery that made false impression that these areas had been completely or partially clear cut. Such mistakes were fixed in the current map of 2007: some tracts were returned back to the map, borders were refined and corrected using better quality and fresh satellite imagery.
- In 1997-2002 consulting company Forest and Environment Group Ltd (FEG) based on the list of forest blocks with intact (old growth) forests provided by BCC, ISEU and Greenpeace Russia prepared Digital map database (scale 1:200 000) and database on nature conservation areas in Republic of Karelia, Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Novgorod and Vologda regions for Finnish Forest Industries Federation, brief description of it is available (here). It is regularly updated. This database is used by Finnish companies, which follow the moratorium on harvesting and procuring timber from old growth forests in the Republic of Karelia . However, these maps are “for commercial use only” and have been never made publicly available. However, it is known that the FEG maps contain some mistakes. Perhaps, this is due to permanent changes in enumeration of forest blocks and borders of leskhozes and lesnichestvos in Karelia during the last 10 years as well as due to the absence of the database verification by stakeholders.
- In 2001 Greenpeace Russia and Global Forest Watch Russia published the Map of Intact Forest Landscapes of Northern European Russia, first in Russian and later in English (Yaroshenko A.Yu., Potapov P.V. and Turubanova S.A. The Last Intact Forest Landscapes of Northern European Russia. Moscow; Greenpeace Russia, 2001. 75 p.). See also http://hcvf.net/eng/search/northrus_ifl.html
Later in 2002 these materials were included in a similar publication for Russia (Aksenov D., Dobrynin D., Dubinin M. et al Atlas of Russia’s Intact Forest Landscapes. Moscow: International Socio-Ecological Union; Washington DC: World Resources Institute, 2002. 186 p., see in Russian (2003) here (Àòëàñ ìàëîíàðóøåííûõ ëåñíûõ òåððèòîðèé Ðîññèè. Ì.: ÌÑîÝÑ)). See also http://hcvf.net/eng/search/russia_ifl.html
Intact forest landscapes in these publications were understood as relatively large (over 50 thousand hectares) areas consisting of patches of intact forests and adjacent intact non-forest ecosystems that form the indivisible natural ecosystem. IFL were identified based on satellite imagery with 35 m per pixel resolution. Therefore, they have natural borders and contain no reference to forest block grid. In Karelia, several IFLs were identified. Their borders to a significant degree coincided to the earlier identified largest tracts of old growth forest.
- In 2005, IFL borders were updated by Greenpeace Russia using satellite imagery with 35-250 m per pixel resolution and currently reflect the state of the early 2004 (Intact Forest Landscapes of Northern European Russia. The Situation as of April 2004, with Changes from 2000 through 2004. Moscow: Global Forest Watch, R&DC "ScanEx", Greenpeace Russia, 2005, poster). English version is available here.
- In 2005, Socio-Ecological Union International, Biodiversity Conservation Center, Greenpeace Russia and SPOK presented a poster Intact (Old Growth) Forests in the Republic of Karelia. This is an early draft of our new map being presented in this publication. Since 2005 the map has been changed insignificantly: several errors has been corrected (in particular, three small intact forest tracts that missed earlier), recent changes has been marked using satellite imagery and a category “Areas of concentrated occurrence of small fragments of intact (old growth) forests” was introduced. Topographic elements were better georeferenced, while forest block grid was further verified. You can also download poster here Karelia-2005-overview-A0.pdf (size 68 mb).
- In 2006 Finnish Research Institute METLA with participation of SPOK published an analysis of wood harvesting restrictions in conservation areas and old growth forests of the Republic of Karelia (Gerasimov Yu., Markovsky A., Markovskaya N. and Lapshin P. The Analysis of Wood Harvesting Restrictions in Conservation Areas and Old-growth Forests of the Republic of Karelia//Metlan tyoraportteja/Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 22. 2006. 148 p.). This publication shows maps of forest blocks, in which occur old growth forests and protected nature areas. The source of information on old growth forests was information from BCC, ISEU and Greenpeace Russia. The information corresponds to the aforementioned poster of 2005. The only difference is that maps in the publication show even those forest blocks, in which old growth forest constitute less than 50% of total area.