We want the WWF site to be comfortable and interesting for you. We work with web analytics to become better. Cookies are used to collect analytical data. All information is completely confidential and is never passed on to third parties. Confirm your agreement with the policy regarding cookies or learn more about the technology.
Accept
What we do
Regions
Home / News and publications / Publications / Brochures, studies, recommendations /
Mapping high conservation value forests of Khabarovsky Kray and Evreyskaya Autonomic Region, Russian Far East
Премия рунета 2017

Mapping high conservation value forests of Khabarovsky Kray and Evreyskaya Autonomic Region, Russian Far East

Mapping high conservation value forests of Khabarovsky Kray and Evreyskaya Autonomic Region, Russian Far East

The objects of this research are high conservation value forests (HCVF) of the southern part of Habarovsky Kray and Evreyskaya Autonomic Region. This area hosts one of the most diverse forest ecosystems in Russia that protect a significant portion of the region's biodiversity. Mixed broadleaf coniferous forests are one of the last remaining habitats for the Amur tiger. Current development rates in the region raise questions, however, about the future conservation value of these forest ecosystems. Thus, a project was initiated to map high conservation value forests (HCVF) to aid regional conservation strategies and to update protected area systems. The highest conservation priority should be given to those ecosystems that are most endangered: the least disturbed forests whose total area is decreasing with each passing year. In formulating a research plan, we discussed the following forest ecosystem categories:

– Less disturbed forest tracts

– Floodplain and bottomland ecosystems of intact river basins

– Rare and endangered plant species habitats

In mapping HCVF of this area, we focused on identifying forests important in the effort to preserve natural vegetation and its biodiversity. To a large extent, animal biodiversity would also be represented within these forest communities. Although this assumption might not hold true in each case, especially for large, mobile animal species, the survival of many animals depends on preserving natural vegetation and vegetation habitats. We did not consider the importance of forests in watershed protection and erosion control as well as cultural and social values in this analysis since the identification of these elements requires a different approach and extensive fieldwork. Moreover, forest areas with different high conservation values often overlap.

Mapping less-fragmented forest territories was one of the important aspects of this project. It was carried out in several steps. Step one used topographic information to exclude infrastructures from the territory of interest. The next step used remote sensing to identify infrastructures not present on available topographic maps; these infrastructures include logging roads, clearcuts, high-graded areas, areas converted to agricultural lands, mining areas and other anthropogenic disturbances. As a separate agent burned areas were also delineated and excluded from less-fragmented areas. Image interpretation was carried out using Landsat satellite data.

Independently mapping core areas of the least transformed forests was carried out by simultaneously using topographic maps, forest inventory data and satellite images. Least transformed forests were identified in all the region’s main forest formations. Combining the areas of the least transformed forests with less-fragmented forest territories identifies clusters of core areas and eliminates fragmented areas to locate less disturbed forest tracts. In addition, floodplain and bottomland ecosystems of intact river basins, some rare forest communities, and known occurrences of rare plant species were mapped. All these kinds of HCVF, together if protected could support the flora and vegetation diversity of the area. The total area of identified HCVF (without intact forest landscapes) made up 3.6 million hectares, or 14.7% of the investigation area. Also 286 habitats of rare and endangered vascular plant species were identified.

Mapping high conservation value forests of Khabarovsky Kray and Evreyskaya Autonomic Region, Russian Far East. Categories important for preservation of fl ora and vegetation
Was published — april 2011