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(1) The artificial creation of woodlands by sowing the seeds of trees and shrubs or setting out their seedlings. Restoring woodlands in an area once covered with forests is called reforestation, whereas establishing woodlands in an area where there have never been forests is called afforestation. The area set aside for the creation of woodlands is called a forestation tract, and all the tracts taken together are called forestation resources. If forestation is done correctly, the resulting tree stands are usually more productive than a natural forest, and the regeneration period after cutting is shorter.
In Russia the artificial creation of forests was begun in the 16th century. By 1917 there were 891,00 hectares (ha) of afforested land. After the Great October Socialist Revolution the scope of forestation increased sharply. Forests were planted over an area of 24.8 million ha between 1917 and 1972. There are a number of types of forestation. Total forestation is done in areas where the forest fails to regenerate itself by natural means or where there have never been any forests. In areas regenerated with soft-leaved species or unsatisfactorily regenerated with the main species partial forestation is undertaken. Preparatory forestation is practiced under a forest canopy intended for cutting in the next one to three years. Total forestation may be pure (concentrating on one species) or mixed (using several species). The soil is usually cultivated to a depth of 15–30 cm in the northern, northwestern, and central European USSR and to 40–50 cm in the southeastern regions. Partial cultivation may be practiced (strips, furrows, plots, and holes, for example). In the USSR approximately 70 percent of the forested areas are created by planting one- to three-year-old seedlings, and less commonly, saplings or stem and root cuttings. To plant deciduous varieties with large seeds (oak and walnut, for example) or to establish preparatory forests on shallow, rocky soils where precipitation is adequate, seeds are sown in freshly cleared areas. In the zone of coniferous and mixed forests, pine, fir, and larch are the main species planted; in the forest-steppe zone, pine, poplar, and oak; in the steppe zone, pine, elm, poplar, oak, and black locust; and in the semidesert zone, black locust, white mulberry, apricot, oak, and elm.
The replacement of dead plants with new ones (addition) is a common procedure in forested areas with a survival rate of 25–85 percent. Care of these forests involves cultivating the soil until the crowns of the trees come together, destroying weeds, and using fertilizers. When a forested area is three to 12 years old, after the autumn inventory, those in charge of creating healthy tree stands may categorize the area as a forest.
(2) A scientific discipline that elaborates the theory and practice of the artificial creation of forests. Forestation includes a number of branches: forest seed production; forest nurseries; forest crops; cultivation of valuable forest-forming, ornamental, food-producing, and industrial trees and shrubs; and forest improvement.
REFERENCESpravochnik lesnichego, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
A. R. RODIN