forests with a predominance of beeches. Beech forests occupy especially large areas in Western Europe (for example, up to 40 percent of all forest areas in the Balkans and 20-30 percent in France, Denmark, and Sweden). Forests of American beech are found in eastern North America; forests of F. Sieboldii beech, in Japan. In the USSR beech forests grow in the Caucasus, the Crimea, in the Carpathians, and on the plains of the southwestern regions of the Ukrainian SSR and Moldavia, over an area of more than 2.5 million hectares. The reserve of beech timber is equal to almost 510 million cu m.
Beech forests are a source of valuable timber and beech nuts, which are rich in proteins and fats. In addition, they are valuable as mountain-protecting, soil-protecting, and water-conserving forests. Other types of trees are also found in beech forests: oriental spruce, Nordmann’s fir, and Caucasian hornbeam; in some places yew, Norway spruce, silver fir, common hornbeam, oak, and other trees. Usually, beech forests have a high yield of timber: in the Caucasus, on brown, damp soils at altitudes of 900 m, beech forests yield over 1,000 cu m of timber per hectare; under other conditions they yield less. The most common types of beech forests in the Caucasus are forests with a layer of dead vegetation, and forests with underbrush of Rhododendron ponticum and Vaccinium arctostaphylos or of cherry laurel.
REFERENCELesa SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1966.
A. P. SHIMANIUK