Forests of the Northern Urals in the first third of the XX century as a reflection of historical traditional and industrial nature management
Head: Aleksei Aleinikov
Date: 2023-2024 гг.
Abstract: Man has gradually become a powerful factor in the transformation of terrestrial ecosystems since his appearance on the planet. Over the course of several millennia, anthropogenic influence have changed the composition and structure of the forest ecosystem. Therefore, one of the primary tasks is to adequately assess the successional status of modern forests based on a comprehensive analysis of past anthropogenic impacts and their long-term consequences. This is necessary for any modern studies of the structure and functioning of forest ecosystems: assessments of carbon stocks and balance, biodiversity, flammability and fire regime, forecasting the state of forest stands, designing specially protected natural areas, developing management regimes, etc. Thus, on the one hand, it appears there is growing evidence of the exceptional value of intact forests in regulating global climate functions and biodiversity. At the same time, the anthropogenic pressure on forest ecosystems increases, which accelerates the replacement of primary/intact/natural forests by secondary ones. One possible solution to this problem is to find the oldest natural forests and exclude them from forestry activities. In addition, it seems that comprehensive studies are even being carried out to identify primary forests in the forests of Europe. Modern large forest areas can represent a complex mosaic of communities with varying degrees of restoration. Studies of such mosaics are rare, but they are extremely important for choosing areas for protection and assessing ecosystem functions. The proposed project is aimed at reconstructing the composition and structure of the forests of the Northern Ural, as well as identifying the factors of forest transformation that existed before the start of industrial logging before the first third of the 20th century. Thanks to the analysis of the surviving forest management materials, made based on the first aerial photography in the USSR, the extent of forest transformation by the Russian population in the pre-industrial period will be assessed. Because of detailed forest management, even small arable lands and hayfields located in the forest were plotted on the afforestation plans, as well as mining and selective felling. The processing and analysis of this information will make it possible to understand the scale and intensity of the traditional nature management of peasants, to reconstruct the distribution of primary and secondary forests, and to assess their relationship with settlements and floating rivers. Historically and geographically, these studies are important in understanding how people have adapted to natural conditions. Ecologically, to understand the scale of development and regional characteristics of forest transformation.