WWF-RUSSIA EXPEDITION INTO THE NORTHERN INTACT TAIGA HAS FINISHED
The expedition group formed by WWF-Russia in coordination with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry of Arkhangelsk Region included botanists, zoologists, forestry specialists from Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg. The experts spent almost ten days in August in the forests of Verkhnetoemsky district in Arkhangelsk Region. The goals of the expedition included the description of flora and fauna, identification of rare species, collection of information about the sanitary and forest-pathological condition of stands, i.e. the state of the forest stand and the presence of pests and diseases. All these data allow evaluating the conservation value of the territory.
According to Natalia Burova, head of the expedition, WWF-Russia expert, associate Professor of ecology, biology and biotechnology, candidate of agricultural Sciences of Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NAFU), the study confirmed that despite the active use of the territory by the local communities, both in the past and at present, the taiga ecosystems remained intact. Basically, the forest in the surveyed area is represented by four species: spruce, pine, birch, and aspen. The age of some trees reaches 200-250 years, while the intact forest itself, as an integral ecosystem, is much older than trees and has been growing, according to the scientists, for several thousand years.
During the expedition, a number of rare species listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation, Arkhangelsk Region, and neighboring regions were identified. For example, experts found habitats of amazing northern orchids, Venus Cypripedium, Epipógium aphýllum, Bryoria fremontii, Lobaria pulmonaria, Tetraplodon and other species.
The data obtained during the expedition will complement the materials of a comprehensive environmental survey necessary to give the unique array of intact taiga the status of protected area. The creation of a reserve will help to keep this area from degradation caused by industrial logging, so that the nature remains here in its almost intact form, and the locals could continue to profit from its gifts.
We would like to remind that WWF-Russia has been working for more than 10 years to conserve the most valuable area of the intact taiga between the Northern Dvina and the Pinega rivers. According to the action plan for the creation of the reserve, approved by the regional Ministry of Forestry Industry, after the completion of the field research phase in August, the materials of the environmental survey of the territory and the draft regulations on protected areas will be prepared. This will be followed by public discussions, state ecological expertise, and approval in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation.
Headline photo: (c) WWF-Russia