Nemoral Forests

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

Abstract

Nemoral forests occupy only 19% of the area, which is the lowest proportion of forested lands of all forest regions in European Russia. Most of these forests comprise Quercus robur and Pinus sylvestris plantations of different age along with a prominent part of Betula spp. forests that developed on abandoned agricultural lands and after severe clear-cuttings. The main feature of the nemoral region in European Russia is the existence of rather large tracts of old-growth forests dominated by Quercus robur and shade-tolerant broad-leaved trees, such as Fraxinus excelsior, Tilia cordata, Ulmus glabra, etc., which occur in areas that belonged to the defensive belts of Moscow State in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These forests have experienced diverse anthropogenic impacts, and as a consequence, the structure and composition of their vegetation are different. Forests with a rich composition of shade-tolerant trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species can be found on soils with a thick mull humus horizon. While successional changes in the vegetation lead to the development of nemoral herb forests dominated by shade-tolerant broad-leaved trees, the highest plant diversity demands the sustainable existence of meadows and water-rich habitats. That is possible with the presence of herbivores which physically alter the habitats, such as Bison bonasus and Castor fiber, within the broad-leaved forest landscape. On the whole, due to a favorable climate and the diversity of human impacts, a relatively high level of forest biodiversity is still maintained in the nemoral region in spite of the obvious degradation of the forested lands.

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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 SciencesMoscow regionRussia
  3. 3.Institute of Mathematical Problems of Biology RAS – Branch of the M.V. Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscow regionRussia
  4. 4.Voronezh State Nature Biosphere ReserveVoronezhRussia
  5. 5.Bryanskiy Les (Bryansk Forest) State Nature Biosphere ReserveBryansk regionRussia
  6. 6.Faculty of BiologyM.V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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