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Differences in the forest landscape structure along the Finnish-Russian border in southern Karelia

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This study describes forest landscape fragmentation and connectivity along the Finnish-Russian border near the Karelian Isthmus. The landscape pattern was analysed using classification data based on Landsat ETM+ and Landsat TM images in combination with systematic surveys in Finland (Finnish National Forest Inventory) (n=546) and the authors' own fieldwork data in Russia (n=101). On the Finnish side the forest patches are significantly smaller than on the Russian side. In addition, the Finnish forests landscape is more scattered and distances between patches of the same forest type are longer. The Russian side is more dominated by broadleaved and mixed forest stands. The disparities are due to differences in forestry policy and traditions of forest practices. The growing conditions of the areas are similar. The habitat fragmentation and habitat connectivity are important issues because the Karelian Isthmus is one of three main corridors and migrating routes connecting large Russian boreal taiga forests and their fauna and flora with Finnish isolated boreal forests.
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Keywords: Boreal forest; Finland; Landsat; Russia; forest landscape; habitat fragmentation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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