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Study of forest feasibility of the Kazxansko-Veshenskogo area sands

Sand afforestation problem despite few scientific achievements is still pending. In particular analysis of forest plantation record book found its low survival and loss. Among sands and sandy soils of the area there are sites that need identification of soil forest feasibility before establishment of plantations.

Under the studies at the VNIILM branch “South European FES” conducted for follow-up development of afforestation (forest regeneration) design proposals in protection forests in European Russia sparsely forested zone the plantations on sands were surveyed in the Veshenskaya forest sub-district territory. Temporary sample plots were established, condition of previous pine  plantations was characterized, soil samples for identification of forest feasibility in the previous plantations and lands without forest cover were taken in the survey. Terrain and soils were evaluated and grass vegetation species pattern that is an indicator of land feasibility for establishment of forest plantations was defined.   .  .

Mainly Scotch pine and Crimean pine plantations grow in the Kazansko-veshensky area sands. Scotch pine can grow in diverse environmental conditions. It is resilient to spring frosts, wind and undemanding for soil moisture and fertility. But in areas with close ground waters there is drowining of its root system and in conditions of gap wind erosion and low hillocks it has a depressed growth (dwarf pine). .


Picture 1– Scotch pine forest plantations in hillocky sands

Crimean pine is undemanding for soil as well and easily endures moisture shortage. However compared to Scotch pine it grows better in sands with available loamy patches. Scotch pine negative impact on Crimean pine growth was found in mixed woods. Though Crimean pine  forest skirts have evident edge effect. There it has good growth indicators, bigger stem diameter and broader crowns. Scotch pine was found more susceptible to pest damage however it is less demanding for soils than Crimean pine. Also better pine plantation condition was identified in woods with timely thinning. Overstocked wood results in its decline and follow-up mortality.

In general survey findings of pine on sands showed that forest plantation growth and evolution can be either rather successful or unsatisfactory due to not only soil climatic conditions but also imperfect technologies of plantation establishment and treatment.

Scotch pine forest plantations in 1999.