Laur N.   Tsarev A.  

“Relic” stands of curly birch in Karelia Republic

Reporter: Laur N.

The natural stands of curly birch sprouts in South Karelia, basically in Zaonezhskom, Ladvinskom and Spasogubskom forestry districts and occupy the area less 100 ha.
The initiators of this species study in Karelia were N. O. Sokolov, A. Y. Lyubavskaya, V. I. Ermakov and others. First two researchers were designed classifications of curly birch, on which are selected a high steam, short steam and bush forms with different wood texture. The curly birch wood is individual in each tree. Wood has differences on coloration though, as a whole, with transition from high steam to bush form it gets dark. The wood texture varies from saturated to weak expression, pattern is also varied. The highest density is in bush forms.
Considering significant value of curly birch, in republic since 1934 on the initiative N. O. Sokolov were started to create the experienced plantations and several later production ones. The whole from 1934 to 1991 years on the lands of the Karelia state forest fund were created 5.5 thousand ha of curly birch plantations by forestry districts. Both for sowing and for production of seedlings the seeds were collected as a rule in reserves and on constant forest seed areas. Under well-timed cares percent trees with clear sign pattern in such plantations got to 30. As a rule, cares were insufficient so majority of the plantations degraded and they are at present written off.
In 1956 A. YA. Lyubavskaya had for the first time conducted the control pollination of curly birch in Karelia. Since 1981 KASSR Forestry Ministry division of breeding had started the systematic selection of plus trees, growing of grafted plant material and since 1984 had started the hybridization works on this birch. Grafted plants were planted on Petrozavodsk forest seed orchard. Hybrids, got from control pollinations of the plus trees different forms, were used when making two forest seed orchards (Zaonezhsky and Petrozavodsky), partial reconstruction of reserves in Ladvinsky and Spasogubsky forestry districts and making the experimental forest plantations.
In plantations, cultivated from hybrid seedling, output of trees with sign pattern gets to 80 %.
Curly (karelskaya - in Russian) birch is indissoluble connected with Karelia Republic, and it is a symbol of the republic. At present it is comprised in Red book (2007) though, to shame scientists and specialists in forestry of the republic, in previous publishing of the Red book (1995) it was deleted on the pretext that it is only form of the Betula pendula Roth, but not separate species. The results have not slowed to show: the illegal cuttings became the mass unpunished actions.
Only 2 trees of curly birch for factory "Karelsky souvenirs" were cut annually in Karelia Republic before 1995. That cutting was done by permit of KASSR Ministry Council. At present-day only on official data the illegal cutting of curly beech without any permit is more than 1.5 thousand trees in the first place in unique reserves and seed orchards including hybrids. It was destroyed unique plantation of curly birch (2.1 ha, Zaonezhsky forestry district, author A. Y. Lyubavskaya). From 169 plus trees in republic remained only 69. At the same time the counters of shops are crowded by products received from curly birch wood.
For conservation natural stands and artificial plantations of curly birch the development of corresponding measures is required. For reception of valuable decorative wood it will be reasonable the creation of specialized plantations, possible, and on commercial base.

Abstracts file: Лаур.doc

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