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Main disturbance factors in north-west Russian forests: Structure and databases

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The official statistics of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation record areas of forest degradation as a key indicator of forest disturbance. The forest degradation area of the north-western part of Russia varies from 14,000 to 28,000 ha per year, the main disturbance factors in forests of the Russian Federation being fires, insect outbreaks and strong wind. These factors caused degradation of forests up to 21,000, 3000 and 300 ha per year in 2001–2003, respectively. There is a need for further development and correction of the databases on forest degradation by the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, particularly with respect to forest degradation resulting from insect outbreaks. Data on degradation areas after forest fires and storms can be verified and corrected to bring them to a representative level. Official statistics on areas of fires and number of fires can be used for initial disturbance assessment. This paper describes the new database structure for insect outbreaks using various sources of information, including official statistics, published data, special forest pathology assessment reports, data from local subdivisions of the forest service and the reports of local experts. The database developed demonstrates the enhanced importance of insect outbreaks. The taxonomic structure of insect pest outbreaks is different to the official statistics and the list of species is longer; the frequency and scale of outbreaks are also much higher. It should be possible to create databases for other important forest disturbance agents such as diseases and air pollution in a similar way.
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Keywords: Fire; Russian Federation; forest degradation; forest disturbance; insect outbreaks; strong winds

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Petersburg State Forest Technical Academy & St Petersburg Regional Project Centre of European Forest Institute, St Petersburg, Russia

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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