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Biomes and Regions of Northern Eurasia

Boreal Forests

<<< Indigenous Peoples of Taiga | Biomes & Regions Index | Mixed and Deciduous Forests: Introduction >>>


Taiga, the largest biome in Northern Eurasia, accounts for a quarter of the world's pristine forests. Although vast, it is floristically poor and its fauna also comprises few species. The European and West Siberian taiga has a milder climate, accommodates a larger number of species, and has been more affected by development, in particular by the production of timber and oil. Although the annual industrial production of timber declined to just over 100 million m3 in 1996, which represents a threefold reduction in comparson with the late 1980s, many areas experience problems with respect to illegal cutting of forests, fragmentation of mature stands, and unacceptable forest-harvesting practices. East of the Yenisey, much of the taiga is represented by monotonous larch stands or thickets of Siberian pine, the two species that are adapted to the extremely low temperatures, high aridity, and ubiquitous permafrost. Because of the severity of the environment and the remoteness of the area, these forests remain virtually untouched by humans. The major problem associated with this area is the organization of fire management. Although taiga does not possess a unique biological diversity, it is important for the maintenance of environmental balance through its role in the global carbon cycle. With the decline of tropical forests, the role of the Russian boreal forest, which covers a larger territory than forests of North America and Scandinavia combined, is becoming more prominent (Gorshkov, 1989; Dixon et. al., 1994; Isaev et. al., 1995). The issues of forest management aimed at conservation and sequestration of carbon are discussed in detail below.

<<< Indigenous Peoples of Taiga | Biomes & Regions Index | Mixed and Deciduous Forests: Introduction >>>



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