PREREQUISITES FOR TRANSITION TO MULTIPURPOSE FOREST REPRODUCTION

Research article
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.23670/IRJ.2022.122.105
Issue: № 8 (122), 2022
Suggested:
15.08.2022
Accepted:
15.08.2022
Published:
17.08.2022
495
22
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Abstract

To increase the productivity of the quantitative and the qualitative structure of the formed forest plantations, a transition to a high-power reproduction model is necessary. At present, silvicultural production is very different far from optimal, the proportion of artificial phytocenoses disappears under the leafy canopy, and reforestation passes through the natural change of species. Ultimately, this reduces the resource and ecological potential of the plantations being formed. In this regard, it is necessary to switch to another model - multi-purpose reproduction of forests. The technology developed and secured by copyright provides for the one-time use of silvicultural areas for plantation (use of deciduous tree species with improved hereditary properties to obtain marketable timber within 20-30 years) forest cultivation and traditional reforestation, (creation of industrial forest plantations, or implementation of a set of measures to promote natural forest formation process). This approach improves the quality and guarantees high efficiency (including economic efficiency) of forest reproduction.

The developed and scientifically substantiated technology has been implemented and is being tested at a production site in the Vologda region in the lease base of Tolshmenskoye LLC, where multi-purpose crops (plantation and traditional) are planted. The work was carried out within the framework of the current regulatory legal acts on reforestation on the basis of a forest development project for research and educational activities, specially developed reforestation projects that have passed all the relevant approvals. Approbation of the proposed approach was implemented on an area of 92.2 hectares.

1. Introduction

According to Article 25 and Article 40 of the Forest Code of the Russian Federation, forest management is to ensure its multipurpose, rational, continuous and sustainable use as well as to contribute to the forest industry development [14, P. 3]. There are few forests, which have not been affected by human activities, both in Russia and in the world as a whole. Moreover, the area of such forests continues to reduce. At the same time, the quality of forest stands become worse and the area of natural stands, which are greatly both environmentally and economically valued, decreases [19].

In this regard, traditional reforestation methods seem to be unable to meet the growing timber needs of the national economy in future. It is particularly difficult to provide the fast-developing pulp and paper industry with raw materials. One of the ways to achieve this goal is to implement a multi-purpose and integrated approach to wood production and afforestation, being focused on accelerated wood reproduction under forest conditions that are relatively favorable for these purposes, with simultaneous and effective regeneration of indigenous forests.

The declared direction corresponds to:

- the research priorities in the field of forest use, its safety, protection and reproduction, that ensure sustainable forest management and timber industry development, approved by the order of the Federal Forestry Agency “Development of ecologically safe forest management and forest use systems, silvicultural and ecological requirements to technological processes and facilities, modern technologies and technical facilities of forest safety, protection, reproduction and reforestation”, no. 519, dated 19 December 2012;

- the basic principles of the government policy in forest use, its safety, protection and regeneration in the Russian Federation till 2030, which have been approved by the order of the Russian Federation Government, no. 1724-R, dated 26 September 2013;

- Forest Regeneration Subprogram, included in the Russian Federation State Program “Forestry Development for 2013-2020”, approved by the resolution of the Russian Federation Government, no. 318, dated 15 April 2014.

According to Article 42 of the Forest Code of the Russian Federation, forest plantations can be developed on the land areas of the forest fund and areas of other categories [7]. In the world practice, the cultivation of woody biomass, which is widely used in various sectors of the national economy, prevails in the forest plantations [11].

Annually, more than one million hectares of plantation forest species are developed in the world for pulpwood logging, lumber log, veneer log and raw materials to satisfy energy needs. More than a third of the wood being consumed in the world is harvested from plantation forest species. The United States and China are the leaders in this field [12].

In Russia, development of plantation forest cultivation is constrained by the widespread idea of forest inexhaustibility. However, the wood reserves available for exploitation are limited due to environmental and economic circumstances. For a long time, the issue of growing any wood assortment has been out of the question, since vast areas of ripe forest have been subjected to felling. Pulp and paper plants as well as woodworking plants used to solve their problems with the help of forest resource bases. Nevertheless, the problems of the wood processing industry have worsened in the period of transition to a market economy [2].

As for wood processing enterprises, developing targeted forest plantations from fast-growing tree species is the only way out of the impending raw material collapse. Moreover, plantation forest cultivation on leased areas inspires the tenants’ motivation for effective forest regeneration and promises them quite tangible and rapid benefits [5].

For a long time, the world pulp and paper industry has been dominated by Northern softwood trees, in particular conifers. These species have made it possible to produce high-quality long-fiber cellulose, which have been out of competition in the cardboard and paper manufacture until recently. However, the technologies have changed, and hardwood is gaining ground [4].

In the country’s forest fund, plantation conifers are located in small areas and are not concentrated near woodworking enterprises and other heavy wood consumers. A lack of separate account of the developed plantation forest species in the forest management documents makes it difficult to control the normative indicators of these stands [5].

A lack of the necessary forestry work finance has resulted in negative indicators of the plantation forest species productivity. Intensive agrotechnical and silvicultural care have been required on rich soils in order to preserve the desired stand composition and the density regime of woody plants. As a result, economically and ecologically valuable forest stands have been formed, but they have not met the objectives of plantation forest cultivation [19].

In our opinion, a special attention is to be paid to the possibility of implementing a multipurpose forest reproduction model, i.e. combining plantation forest cultivation and various methods of traditional reforestation (natural, artificial, combined) to improve the economic and environmental effect. It meets the basic principle of the forest legislation on ensuring the multipurpose, rational, continuous and sustainable use of forests to meet the social needs in forests and forest resources. Implementation of the model that uses modern biotechnologies makes it possible to improve the forest fund state as a whole [7]. The proposed model is a new promising direction developed to reduce pressure on natural forests [10].

In this regard, the modern state forest policy is to be aimed at motivating the forest managers to grow high-quality stands as well as to make conditions that allow the full use of forests and implementation of the long-term projects in forestry.

The long-term forest manager is interested in obtaining wood in a certain local proximity to the production site, and therefore, in permanent reforestation. To develop and improve the competitiveness of the domestic forest economy both in the domestic and foreign markets, it is necessary to develop new methods of economically and environmentally responsible use and methods of afforestation, aimed at strengthening and improving the quality of raw materials [9, P. 43-45].

The Integrated Program for Biotechnology Development in the Russian Federation for the period until 2020 can be a tool for realizing the idea. The program includes developing the network of DNA analysis laboratories for monitoring the state of forest genetic resources, forest pathology monitoring, government monitoring of forest reproduction, control of the legal wood origin and creating an in vitro (plant material bank) forest woody plant collection [16].

2. Research methods and principles

The object of the present research is a model and technology of a multipurpose forest reproduction by one-time use of forest areas for plantation forest cultivation (using deciduous wood species with improved hereditary properties for obtaining merchantable timber during 20-30 years) and traditional reforestation, by developing industrial forest species grown from the seeds of known origin as well as by combined and natural methods of forest reproduction. This approach is to improve the quality and efficiency of forest reproduction. Along with it, the use of fast-growing tree species is to increase the profitability of forestry operations and to provide good raw materials.

The introduction of deciduous forest species obtained by cell selection of valuable candidate genotypes in vitro into the species will allow increasing the forestry work profitability and to produce 350-450 m3/ ha of merchantable timber within 25-30 years, which is important for logging enterprises during the life of lease agreements [3].

The main requirement for the plantation stand development is to use species, forms (clones) and varieties that correspond to the target characteristics (productivity, wood quality, etc.) and can be resistant to adverse environmental factors [6, P. 138]. The main requirements for the quality of forest sites, being suitable for developing target hardwood plantations in the taiga zone of the European part of Russia [1, P. 91] are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 - Forest vegetation characteristics of forest sites suitable for multipurpose forest reproduction

Criteria

Main requirements

Hectarage of a specific site, ha, not less than

20

Quality class (lat. Bonitas), not less than

II

Forest site types, soil-hydrological conditions

В23, С23, green-moss and blueberry on loamy sand, wood sorrel and blueberry on loam; complex and mixed grass species

Content of physical clay in a mineral soil layer of 0-30 cm thick, %

5-30 (birch / Betula pendula)

10-50 (aspen / Populus tremula)

Depth to a dense root-proof soil layer, cm, not less than

60 (birch / Betula pendula)

40 (aspen Populus tremula)

Amount of wood residues at even distribution, m3 / ha, not more than

15

Depth of groundwater by the beginning of vegetation, cm, above

30

First of all, in the Vologda region, fresh cuttings (1-2 years) of the blueberry and wood sorrel group of the forest site types are suitable for developing birch and aspen plantations.

To evaluate the multipurpose forest reproduction model, the experiment has been carried out for the first time in the Vologda region (Tot’ma municipal district) in 2016. The forest fund for reforestation and afforestation has been represented by fresh cuttings in the blueberry and wood sorrel group of the forest site types.

For setting out plantation birch and aspen species, fresh cuttings made 12 months ago have been selected (Table 2). The number of stumps on these cuttings ranged from 460 to 727 pcs / ha.

Table 2 - Initial characteristics of selected forest sites

Compartment number

Subcompartment number

Usage type

Year of development

Land category

Forest type index

Quality class

(lat. Bonitas)

Hect

erage

 

41

10

Clear cutting

2015

Fresh cuttings

Сsorrel

9.0

11

I

16.0

21

I

10.0

48

6

Clear sanitary cutting

Сsorrel

I

7.0

7

Сblueberry

II

12.0

13

Сsorrel

I

10.0

59

21

Clear cutting

Сsorrel

I

10.0

64

6

Clear cutting

Сsorrel

I

9.8

26

Сblueberry

I

8.4

When selecting sites, being suitable for developing multipurpose species, the location of processing plants, soil conditions and biological species capabilities for the conditions of the taiga zone in the European part of Russia [19] have been taken into account as a result of an on-site survey, in accordance with the current guidelines of forest management [13]. The forest sites are distributed according to the quality class (lat. Bonitas) as follows:

Quality class Ia - 9.0 ha (about 9%);

Quality class I – 71.2 ha (79%);

Quality class II - 12.0 hectares (about 12%).

The forest sites allocated for plantation forest species are distributed according to the forest type as follows: sorrel pine forest - 79% and blueberry forests - about 21%. The forest sites under research have been developed by means of clear as well as clear sanitary cuttings in the summers and winters of 2015 and 2016. The technological process has included a cut-to-lengthwith the use of a foreign aggregate equipment complex.

3. Main results

In the course of the experiment at the production site, we have developed and implemented five options for a multipurpose forest reproduction by laying out fast-growing plantation birch and aspen species from ball-rooted planting stock (seedlings) with improved hereditary properties.

Table 3 - Characteristics of the research objects at the production site

Forestry,

divisional forestry

Purposive wood species

Compartment number

Subcompartment number

Hectarage

Stand composition

Number of planted plants, thousand pcs

Totemskoe,

Manylovskoe

rural

 

Birch

Aspen

Pine

Fir tree

41

10

92,2

10Birches; 7Pines 3Fir trees

6.4;

31.2

11

10Birches; 10Pines

24.5;

70.4

21

10Aspens; 10Fir trees

9.6;

48.0

48

6, 7, 13

8Aspens 2Birches; 5Pines 5Fir trees; 9Fir trees 1Birches+ Aspens

10.1;

58.7;

24.9

59

21

10Aspens; 9Fir trees 1Birch + Aspen

21.2;

18.2

64

6, 26

10Aspens; 9Fir trees 1Aspen

23.7;

36.6

Furthermore, industrial spruce and pine species (pure and mixed) have been developed at the same time on the same area by using the methods of combined reforestation and the methods assisting to natural reforestation (saving a viable generation of main forest stand species (undergrowth), which has renewed itself under the canopy of the forest stands and is capable to form new forest stands under these climatic conditions) under logging operations in the forest swaths preserving the forest environment (see figure).

Scheme of clone arrangement on the plantation site

Preservation of a viable generation of main forest stand species (undergrowth), which has renewed under the canopy of forest stands and is capable to form new forest stands under these climatic conditions

Figure 1 - Preservation of a viable generation of main forest stand species (undergrowth), which has renewed under the canopy of forest stands and is capable to form new forest stands under these climatic conditions

Note: clone number in the scheme, Species, Plant variety, Explant type, PFS - plantation forest species, FS - forest species, NR - natural regeneration

Artificial reforestation

Figure 2 - Artificial reforestation

Note: clone number in the scheme, Species, Plant variety, Explant type, PFS - plantation forest species, FS - forest species, NR - natural regeneration

Сombined reforestation

Figure 3 - Сombined reforestation

Note: clone number in the scheme, Species, Plant variety, Explant type, PFS - plantation forest species, FS - forest species, NR - natural regeneration

At the same time, different density and combination of deciduous and coniferous forest species as well as the multi-purpose species arrangement on the forest site (line and strip arrangement, consisting of two paired rows) have been considered (Table 3).

Before establishing plantations, the plot soils have been mechanically furrowed and artificial elevations (dumps) have been formed. The depth of tillage has been 0.20 m. The average distance between the furrows (elevations) has been 5.0 m. To increase the planted stand stability, the furrows (elevations) have been plowed nonlinearly, evenly throughout the forest area (Forest Development Project, 2017), except for the natural reforestation sites, where furrows have been plowed only near technological corridors. Plantation species as well as industrial ones have been planted manually with the use of Kolesov's sword in the side dump of the furrow, with the mandrel of the root system.

Experimentally specified density of plantation and industrial forest species has been provided for different options, depending on the developed mixing schemes (Table 4). Due to the fact, that there are no recommendations on the density of deciduous stands in the forestry literature for the taiga zone, we have proposed a sufficiently great variety of options to establish the optimal number of plants per an area unit. For plantation birch and aspen species, the initial number of plants per an area unit has been the following: 400 pcs / ha, 500 pcs /ha, 600 pcs / ha, 700 pcs / ha, 800 pcs/ ha, and 2000 pcs / ha. For the two-row planting of industrial pine and spruce species, a less variability has been provided: 3 thousand pcs / ha for spruce, 3.5 thousand pcs / ha for pine and spruce (when planting mixed stands) and 4.0 thousand pcs /ha for pine.

When developing species mixing, it is necessary to envisage resistance of the planted stand to fires, pests and other negative factors. For instance, in a dry forest it is desirable to develop a strip mix of pine and birch trees, which will grow together and serve as the simplest fire barrier [8, P. 315].

Genotypes of the forest species used for establishing a plantation have been tested for adaptability and stability in non-sterile conditions in 2015. During that period, some characteristics of genotypes (e.g. ploidy) have been specified. On the basis of the obtained data, representivity and species composition have been corrected when planning the production volume of the hardwood planting stock (birch and aspen) [18].

Table 4 - Parameters of plantation and production forest species

Indicator

Technological approaches according to the species development options,

depending on the machines, mechanisms and equipment in use

machines and mechanisms of foreign production

Working Circle

deciduous

coniferous

Density, pcs/га

400

500

600

700

800

3000

3500

4000

Species

Birch (Aspen)

Birch (Aspen)

Birch (Aspen)

Birch (Aspen)

Birch (Aspen)

Fir tree

Pine+ Fir tree

Pine

Plant Spacing, m

1.5

1.25

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.4-0.5

0.3-0.4

0.3

The replication volume of No. 4 birch genotype has been reduced, but it has been left in the collection, since it has been the source genome for some elite forms and remains to be the control one. The share of Drv-1 genotype, taken as a promising elite variety in the 2015 production plan, has been significantly increased in the production volume. The performed adaptation works have confirmed its positive characteristics.  The total collection includes eight birch genotypes: bp3f1-1, No.4, bp4a-1, bb31-1, Drv-1, bb4b-1, bp1b-1 and bp3f-1. The collection of aspen genotypes has also changed: Mutant 2, Mutant 21, 47-1-1-19; 47- 1-1-22; 47-1-1-27; 47-1-1-31; 47-1-2-53.

In total, 12 clonal aspens and seven clonal birches have been planted (Table. 2). In total, 107404 pieces of hardwoods have been planted on the area of 92.2 hectares. The clonal birches have represented about 30% of the total.

Three-year spruce seedlings (temporary nursery of Vashkinsky forestry, Vologda region) and two-year pine seedlings (permanent nursery of Ustyuzhensky forestry, Vologda region) grown from the seeds of known origin have been used as planting stock for the development of industrial forest species (Table 5).

In 2019, every forest site of the production site have been paid silvicultural management. Moreover, species inventory have been taken. As a result, the morphometric parameters (diameter at the root neck, height) of the planted plants, their survival and damage degree affected by abiotic factors have been established.

Table 5 - Inventory list of species implemented in multipurpose forest reproduction

Species

Plant variety

Explant type

Total number, pcs

Aspen

47-1

ex-vitro

14410

23

ex-vitro

9042

mutant 12

ex-vitro

6845

с-control

ex-vitro

6697

mutant 2

ex-vitro

2667

ptv 22-1

ex-vitro

13582

l-4

ex-vitro

8008

pt-2

ex-vitro

1724

mutant 21

ex-vitro

843

mutant 14

ex-vitro

916

47-1-2-53

ex-vitro

2462

47-1-1

ex-vitro

4894

Total

72090

Birch

bp3f1-1

ex-vitro

12133

bp4а-1

ex-vitro

1860

bp1b-1

ex-vitro

4672

drv-1

ex-vitro

2321

4

ex-vitro

8378

bb31-1

ex-vitro

3002

bb4b-1

ex-vitro

2331

bp3f-1

ex-vitro

617

Total

35314

Broadleaved species in total

107404

Pine

-

-

120230

Fir tree

-

-

87780

Coniferous species in total

208010

Total

315414

From a legal point of view, until 2020, such a combination of traditional and plantation forest crops with improved hereditary properties was only possible when forests were used for research and educational activities. In connection with changes in regulatory legal acts, the list of main forest-forming species has been expanded with such hardwood as birch. Using a multi-purpose approach can now be implemented in production much faster. The foregoing does not exclude the possibility of applying such an approach on degraded lands or with longer rotation periods with a balanced approach to the risks of their creation. Nevertheless, it is not the creation of forest plantations that seems promising and sustainable, but more intensive forestry compared to modern forestry in areas of natural (albeit heavily transformed, degraded) secondary (derivative) forests using the approach of multi-purpose reproduction and forest use.

4. Discussion

The survey made by the international Aston Alliance consortium has shown that a similar model, technology, and approach are unavailable in the forest management practice in the Russian Federation, CIS countries, and abroad. The authors received the inventor’s certificate no. EC-01-001414 Work of science: Model and technology of multipurpose forest reproduction.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the following should be noted (RF Government Decree No. 337-R, 2018; Forest Development Project for Forest Implementation, 2017; A. S., 2017):

1. The developed and proposed model intended to be implemented in production practice for testing a multipurpose forest reproduction approach allowed to transit to an intensive forest management model declared by the fundamentals of the state policy in the field of use, protection and reproduction of forests in the Russian Federation until 2030.

2. In accordance with the legislative and regulatory framework of the Russian Federation, Project of Forest Development for Research and Education has been developed.

3. Scientific and methodological justification of the model and technology of a multipurpose forest reproduction is secured by copyright.

4. Project and technical documents (forest development project, technological maps for soil treatment) on the model and technology of a multipurpose forest reproduction has been developed and agreed by the executive authorities.

5. In the coming period (the next 3-5 years), a forest-biological assessment of the multi-purpose approach to forest reproduction in the South taiga region of Russia’s European taiga part is planned, with the account of the technological methods of their development. It will allow assessing the stand resistance to the effects of biotic and abiotic factors. The final assessment will be given for the species at the age of 10-15 years old (short-term trials of elite hardwood offspring).

6. Taking into account the scientific and methodical justification and testing, the stand productivity in the considered region as well as the economic benefits gained from forest use are to increase on the assumption of preserving the forest’s social and environmental values.

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