Boreal Forests

Chapter
Part of the Plant and Vegetation book series (PAVE, volume 15)

Abstract

Researches of forest vegetation, forest soil, and features of the historical land use in the boreal region showed that most of the boreal forests have developed as a result of repeated forest fires and cuttings during the last millennium. These impacts simplified the structure of boreal forests and led to the wide occurrence of forests dominated by green mosses and dwarf shrubs in the ground layer of the vegetation with a relatively low species diversity and the prevalence of soil with moor and moor-moder humus horizons. At the same time forests dominated by tall herbaceous species in the ground layer and moder-mull humus in the soil have been found in fire refuges which are located in river valleys and on watersheds as well. Tall herb forests dominated by Picea spp. and Abies sibirica (in the east) have developed in areas without fire and clear-cuttings for more than 500 or 600 years, and they are the richest forest type in terms of species and structural diversity of the vegetation, in phytomass values of the ground layer, and in soil fertility. Treefalls with uprooting, pit-and-mound topography, and deadwood at different stages of decay and overgrowing are the main features of these forests. Dark coniferous forests dominated by tall herbs in the ground layer are forests at the latest successional stage that we observed in the boreal forest region of European Russia.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Forest Ecology and Productivity of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science of the Russian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  3. 3.Institute of Mathematical Problems of Biology RAS – Branch of the M.V. Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  4. 4.Faculty of BiologyM.V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Bryanskiy Les (Bryansk Forest) State Nature Biosphere ReserveNerussaRussia
  6. 6.Pechora-Ilych State Nature Biosphere ReserveYakshaRussia
  7. 7.Institute of Global Climate and Ecology of Roshydromet and the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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