The Lintula Larch Forest

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Abstract:

The Lintula Larch Forest, also called the Raivola Larch Forest, is one of the most magnificent cultivated forests in northern Europe. It has had a major impact on the cultivation of larch throughout the world, and it became part of the Unesco's World Heritage list in 1991. This article summarizes for the first time to an international audience the establishment, administration and management, stand development and research carried out in Lintula Park. It is based on Russian and Finnish papers and earlier unpublished results. The forest is located 63 km north-west of St Petersburg in the Karelian Isthmus. It was established by order of Peter the Great to supply the Russian fleet with timber for shipbuilding. Ferdinand Gabriel Fockel, a German forest expert, established the oldest stands in 1738–1750 with seed from the Province of Arkhangelsk. Since then the area of the forest has expanded and now the total area of larch stands is 55.9 ha; 23.5 ha of the “old stands” established in 1738–1851 still remain. The Lintula larch stands were famous for their high yield, but part of the reputation was based on small sample plots that were not representative of the stands. However, the high volumes of different tree stands are impressive. For example, in a 255-year-old stand with 339 trees ha -1 the volume of growing stock was 1284 m 3 ha -1 . In small sample plots much higher volumes are found. The average annual growth of the oldest larch stands has never exceeded 6.2–7.2 m 3 ha -1 . The volume increment was, however, long-lasting, and annual growth started to decrease only after 148–166 years. Some plots had an increase in yield even at the age of 257 years. The yield of the larches clearly surpassed that of Norway spruce and Scots pine in nearby stands. The Lintula Larch Forest has provided valuable experience on the cultivation of larch. The root system of larch is relatively weak, and it is therefore susceptible to wind damage and rot fungi. An important conclusion drawn from the development of the Lintula Larch Forest is that the cultivation of larch is worthwhile only when grown as pure stands using intensive growing techniques.

Keywords: Larch cultivation; Larix sibirica; Raivola; larch plantation; shipbuilding forests

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827580510036210

Affiliations: 1: St Petersburg State Forest Technical Academy, Institutskij per, 5, St Petersburg, Russia 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, Vantaa, Finland

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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