Birch Forests

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Birch Forests


forests with a predominance of birch. In the USSR, they are prevalent primarily in the forest and forest-steppe zones and in alpine forest regions. Birch forests generally arise as secondary forest on the site of cutover or burned coniferous and mixed forests, as well as on abandoned plowed fields. The area of birch forests in the USSR amounts to nearly 92 million hectares—about 13 percent of the forest area of the country. The supply of birch lumber in these forests is about 6.8 billion cu m.

In the area of the most prevalent species of birch in the USSR (European white birch and Old World white birch), birch forests consist of European white birch on dry and drained soils and Old World white birch on moistened soils. Frequently both species grow together. The area of secondary birch forest is increasing as a result of concentrated cutting in the spruce and spruce-fir forests of the taiga zone, where renewal essentially proceeds with a replacement of species and cuttings of the younger generation are conducted with insufficient care. However, as a result of the birch’s exceptional need for light and the settlement of the indigenous conifers displaced earlier under its canopy, birch forests gradually become birch-spruce, birchpine, or birch-deciduous forests. One hundred years or more is required for the complete displacement of the birch and the reestab-lishment of the parent type of forest. It is possible to decrease this period through cuttings that increase the growth of coniferous-deciduous shoots. Birch forests which grow up on the site of coniferous forests are usually represented by the same types of wood as the coniferous forests were. Thus, whortleberry bushes, red whortleberry bushes, and mixed grasses, which make up 50–80 percent of the area of birch forests, are often found in birch forests and groves.

Indigenous birch forests are encountered in smaller areas, in moist, depressed places. These are the cane and reed grass sedge (with Calamagrostis langsdorfii in the mantle), sphagnous birch forests, and also the birch groves of western Siberia, which consist essentially of European white birch, with a mixture of Old World white birch in sinks. The birch forests of eastern Siberia and the Soviet Far East are made up of different species of birch; they cover several million hectares and are of great value. Tidal paper birch and paper birch on slopes are distinguished. Forests of Betula ermanii grow over vast areas between Baikal and Kamchatka and on the Komandorskii Islands. Vast thickets of shrub birch—dwarf, Betula exilis, Betula middendorfii, Betula humilis, and other varieties—are encountered in bog and sphagnum swamps.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
They went through the muddy village, past threshing floors and green fields of winter rye, downhill where snow still lodged near the bridge, uphill where the clay had been liquefied by the rain, past strips of stubble land and bushes touched with green here and there, and into a birch forest growing on both sides of the road.
Then the viceroy would cause a ruffle of drums to be sounded and the ring-streaked horse and the cavalry of the state-two men in tatters-and the herald who bore the Silver Stick before the king would trot back to their own place, which was between the tail of a heaven-climbing glacier and a dark birch forest.
But I buy no village in the Himalayas so long as one red head flares between the tail of the heaven-climbing glacier and the dark birch forest.
Here, PMB painted the birch forests and peasant farmers of Worpswede with astonishing maturity.
The most common differences are the change of the dominant formation classes by regions: Pre-Kama taiga region is dominated bt pine cultures, oak forests in deciduous Kama and Volga region, aspen and birch forests in the regions following Kama region.
Then, after my 100-hour stint on the train, I popped back to the compartment for a last stare into the birch forests.
On learning that the site for her proposed commission was beside the ocean in Denmark, this submerged forest came to mind, combined with her memories of driving through Danish Birch forests, their slender and uniform paleness creating a rhythmic pattern against the darker surrounding landscape, the "low ripples of drumlins", as she describes it.
The north (Lapland) is often described as the last wilderness in Europe, with its expansive lakes, wild swamps, treeless highlands, sub arctic climate, and impenetrable birch forests. Often referred to as the "Venice of the North," the capital city, Stockholm, is the economic, cultural, and political center of Sweden, and is renowned for its spectacular architecture, meandering canals, and many beautiful parks.
Some of the less showy invaders that the scientists found also are moving northward include the winter moth, which defoliates mountain birch forests, and species of Low Arctic trees and shrubs, which affect the dynamics of trace-gas exchange.
Our region would no longer be a viable habitat for our treasured spruce and fir forests, and even our iconic maple, beech and birch forests would be threatened.
Paul Lister also hopes the animals will eventually occupy 50,000 acres of pine and birch forests.