Nature tourism as a tool for
Muezersky District
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.
The contents of the publication is the sole responsibility of City of Lieksa and
can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Russian version Forests
About project
Project aims
Major project activities
Relevant projects
Project results

Water tourism

Geomorphology and landscapes
Rivers and lakes

Natural Resources

Protected Areas
Analysis and evaluation
Lake Tulos

Social potential
Subsurface resources
Nature tourism

About Site

European Union

The project is founded by the European Union

City of Leksa

This project is implemented by the City of Lieksa

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 4
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
Forests cover 2/3 of the Muezersky District territory and are the main biotic component of the landscape. The forest cover is of key importance for the formation and preservation of the environment. It is responsible for the condition of terrestrial faunistic and floristic complexes. The forest cover characteristics are the primary factor determining the recreational value of the landscapes.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 6
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
The forest cover is dominated by pinewoods, which account for 80% of the total forested area. They commonly occur as large pinewood areas with patches of spruce stands. Spruce forests mostly grow along watercourses and in depressions between ridges and hills, where the soil is wet. One may see fragments of birch forest, growing in former hay meadows and burnt sites. A very rare feature is aspen stands, occupying abandoned farmland.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 8
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
Muezersky District has nearly all types of north-taiga forest communities known in Karelia. Altogether, they constitute the most typical East Fennoscandian topography associated ecological series of forest coenoses: various combinations of all forest types succeed each other from hill and ridge tops, with fragments of exposed crystalline bedrock, to the central parts of large mire complexes. Rupicolous pine stands grow on rare outcrops of the Baltic crystalline shield, and are superseded on the slopes by bilberry pine stands on sandy loam podzols. Lower, moister parts of hill and ridge slopes are usually overgrown with bilberry spruce stands alongside wet valley spruce stands. Forest communities on mineral soils alternate with dwarf shrub-Sphagnum pine stands on peat soils fringing open mires in flatlands, etc.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 10
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
The forests have the tree species (predominance of conifers) and ground cover (the most typical plant species are wide-spread) composition most representative of pristine taiga. Forest communities in the district are the most typical for the north-taiga subzone of East Fennoscandia. They are also quite similar to forests of the Kostomukshsky strict nature reserve and the planned Kalevalsky national park.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 12
Notice: Undefined index: alt in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
Only small fragments of high density coniferous stands aged over 120 years have survived in the Muezersky District (fig. 1). Most of them can be classified as "pristine" or "primary", i.e. of natural genesis without significant anthropogenic disturbances (felling, drainage, slash-and-burn farming, industrial pollution).

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 14
Notice: Undefined index: alt in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
The largest areas of such forest are found between Lake Tulos and the Russian-Finnish border, and in the north-west of the district, near the Kostomukshsky reserve. Pristine forests are of high interest for scientific and learning tourism.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 17
Notice: Undefined index: alt in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
The spatial arrangement of pine and spruce stands prior to large-scope cuttings had been fashioned primarily by the fire regime that had existed in the past millennia. The natural cause of periodic fires was lightning, and as the human impact on the areas has been growing in the past centuries it also became a weighty factor. It is safe to say that the forest cover in the area used to be composed of communities at various stages of reforestation of burnt over sites of the natural as well as partially anthropogenic genesis.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 19
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
The fire regime varies largely in different terrain types. E.g., pine forests on dry sandy deposits along the south-western shore of Lake Tulos used to burn 1-2 times in a century. Paludified crystalline basement lows with spruce forests on peat-humus soils experienced no more than 2-3 fires in a millennium. Surveys discovered fire layers in the mineral horizon beneath a 0.7-metre thick peat deposit. Their age is at least 1000 years.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 21
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
Fires had been controlling the structure and dynamics of forest communities for at least several millennia. Vast pinewood areas could be totally destroyed by fires, with even-aged stands developing in the open burnt areas. Running ground fires damaged only undergrowth and individual trees in pine stands. The resultant "gaps" grew occupied by abundant regenerating pine undergrowth. Thus, uneven-aged tree stands were gradually forming. These uttermost types of the "fire impact" have a multitude of intermediate variants and, hence, there exists a wide range of pine communities differing in the structure.

Notice: Undefined variable: lang in /www/muetacis/environment/forest.html on line 23
Notice: Undefined index: in /www/muetacis/lib/init.lib on line 457
border=0 alt="">
Spruce stands on mineral soils were also from time to time completely destroyed by fires, since spruce is far more vulnerable to heat than pine (thin bark, low crown, surficial root system). Running fires periodically eliminated spruce from pine-spruce stands.

Waterside buffer forests and forestry in waterside protection overlay zones

Republic of Karelia Government Decree #456 of September 30, 1999 set aside 500-metre wide waterside protection belts around lakes Aimozero, Leksozero, Kukkaselka, Rovkulskoye, Sulla, Torosozero, Tulos, etc., as well as 1000-metre wide belts along each bank of rivers Lenderka, Penninga, Tula (Luzhma), etc. Final cuttings and mineral resource extraction in the belts are prohibited, unless specially allowed by regional and federal nature conservation authorities. The following silvicultural treatments are permitted in the waterside protection zones:

  1. Weeding - performed in stands younger than 20 years, to prevent smothering and secure the dominance of the favoured tree species,

  2. Spacing - in stands younger than 40 years, to control stocking and improve height increment of the favoured tree species,

  3. Improvement cuts - in stands younger than 60 years, to optimize stocking and bole shape,

  4. Late thinning - at an age not past 80 years (20 years before the final cut), to raise the volume increment of the best trees by removing some less desirable trees,

  5. Regeneration treatments - to trigger regeneration processes and improve the stand function by removing mature and overmature trees,

  6. Salvage and sanitation cuts - removal of rot-damaged trees, including sanitation clearcuts prescribed for declining stands.

Waterside protection zones have been set aside around nearly all large lakes and along rivers. "Framing" all prospective water tourism routes, they are highly attractive as recreational areas.

Expert: A.N.Gromtsev.
Photo's authors: A.Shelekhov, A.N.Gromtsev.

Start page 

Last modified on May 16, 2003