Canadian Forest Service Publications

National circumstances in the international circumboreal community. 2007. Wulder, M.A.; Campbell, C.; White, J.C.; Flannigan, M.D.; Campbell, I.D. The Forestry Chronicle 83(4): 539-556.

Year: 2007

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 27396

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

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Boreal forest nations are often thought to have similar environmental, social, and economic contexts. In this communication we show that boreal forest nations are a disparate grouping, with some similarities and many differences. Highlighting these differing national contexts provides insights into how a given nation utilizes the boreal forests over which it holds stewardship responsibilities. Current national contexts are related to each nation's physiography, climate, history, legacy of past forest management, the timing of transition from natural to plantation forests, population density and distribution, and access to resources and markets. Boreal forests are dominated by pioneer species that are resilient to disturbance and have a demonstrated ability to adapt to past climate changes. National responses to natural disturbances are linked to forest area, ownership, and management intensity. Boreal forests in large nations (e.g., Canada, Russian Federation) are typically publicly owned, and disturbances such as fire are allowed to progress naturally over remote areas. In smaller nations, where there is often a greater proportion of private ownership and a focus on production forestry, natural disturbances are more aggressively controlled (e.g., Sweden, Finland). Large nations with low boreal human population densities have a greater proportion of natural boreal forest, with relatively higher levels of biodiversity when compared to the fully managed forests of some smaller boreal nations. In smaller nations, the combination of limited forest area and private ownership has facilitated the dominance of intensive sustainable forestry management practices (e.g., Finland). Conversely, in nations with more spatially extensive forest assets that are publicly owned and managed to meet multiple objectives, extensive sustainable forest management practices dominate (e.g., Canada, Russian Federation).