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Wood resources

Wood resourcesRussia is the largest wood country. The total area of the wood fund and other wood resources of the Russian Federation exceeds 1180 million hectares. Russian resources of standing wood are estimated in 81,9 billion cubic metres (1998). Coniferous woods rate among all Russian woods is more than ¾.

Russia possesses about 1/5 of all global wood resources i.e. the largest stock of wood in the world. Boreal woods and woods of the temperate zone are almost exclusive property of Russia (2/3 of the global stock).

Forestries of the USA and Canada taken separately form about one tenth of the global volume. Brazil has a little more of woods. China and India together have one twentieth of global wood resources. There is less than 1 hectare of wood per man (the global rate). The same rate for Canada is more than 8, in Finland - 4, in Russia - 5,3; and in the USA - only 0,8 hectare. Standing wood resources correspondingly have 65 cubic metres per man (the global level), in Canada - more than 570, in Russia - 561, in Finland - above 370 and in the USA - only about 83 cubic metres.

The wood fund of the Russian Federation is spread for many thousand kilometers from pine woods of Kurshskaya Spit (the Baltic coast) to birch forests of Kamchatka and fir groves of Northern Sakhalin, from poor dwarf vegetation of pre-arctic territories of the Kola Peninsula to the richest in species woods of The Black Sea Coast. On the whole it occupies 69% of land. Percentage of wood territories to the whole territory of Russia (including all its water basins) is 45,3%.

According to economic, ecological and social role all wood resources of Russia may be subdivided into 3 groups:
I group - water-protective, soil-protective, reserved and other woods where felling is forbidden, i.e.: forest belts, reserves, forest parks, suburban and resort zones (total area - 268,7 million hectares);
II group - multi-purpose woods in forest-poor zones with limited exploitation of woodlands (total area - 88,7 million hectares);
III group - widely exploited woods of forest-rich zones where the most part of afforestations are reproduced with participation of man (total area - 815,0 million hectares).

Thus, the woods of I group make 22,9% of the national wood fund, II group - 7,6%, III - 69,5%.

TWood resourceshe wood fund structure has been changing during last twenty years. The share of III group woods has decreased very noticeably, mainly due to increase of area of I and partly II groups. It testifies to the growing ecological and social role of woods.

The woods of Russia supervised by forestry authorities, are represented by three types of basic species, as a whole they occupy 645,9 million hectares, or 89,9% of all wood resources. Among them coniferous trees (pine, cedar, fur-tree, silver fir, larch) occupy 508,7 million hectares (70,8%); small-leaved species (birch, aspen, linden, poplar, willow, alder) - 119,7 million hectares (16,7%); large-leaved (oak, beech, ash, maple, elm, hornbeam, locust, saxaul) - 17,5 million hectares (2,4%).
Other tree species and bushes occupy 72,8 million hectares or 10,1% of woodlands, this group is mainly represented by shrubs of pre-tundra belt. Almost all plants of this group (72,2 million hectares or 99,3%) grow in the Asian part of the country.

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