Primorye to have a role model forest
The Primorye State Agricultural Academy in the Russian Far East along with the World Wildlife Fund has begun to create a forest which will be unprecedented in Russia. According to its makers’ plan, this forest will become a role model for the competent use of biological resources.
At present, work is underway on the grounds of a dead forest farm situated on the border of the Ussuri nature reserve. 29,000 hectares of fertile soil have regained their owners. The land has been rented out to the Institute of Forest Farming of the Primorye Agricultural Academy. This land will be the site of a training forest farm where future experts will be shown how to pick wild nuts, berries and medicinal herbs without causing damage to the environment, Andrei Komin, the Director of the Primorye Agricultural Academy says.
“We will create a role model forest on this territory. This will be a training site for our students and also a testing ground for the new methods of sustainable forest farming,” Andrei Komin said.
Scientists stress the great biological variety of the Amur Region. There are few places on Earth where one can find 20 different kinds of trees in one spot. The most important thing is that the training forest farm has already started to revive the nursery in which the students will be trained in methods of artificial reforestation and will grow planting stock. The academy plans to provide the whole of the Primorye Region and also other countries with saplings of the Korean cedar, the Manchurian fir, the Sayan fir and the Korean fir. All work on the revival of the planting stock, including rare kinds of trees, is important in the restoration of the habitat of the tiger and the leopard. In addition, a new environmental experiment has started in Primorye. The World Wildlife Fund together with local businessmen decided to prove that the taiga forest can bring more profit if it is not cut down. This year there is plenty of cedar nuts, so local people decided to make money. Almost all the residents of local villages are picking cedar cones. For many of them this is the only source of income.
Processing cones is a non-waste industry. The nuts provide kernels and oil and the shells are sold to farms that make biological additives to fodder.
Cedar nuts picked in Primorye forests are first sent to China where they are shelled, packed up and then sent to American shops. They are a very popular refreshment in the US and the American market is one of the largest in the world. At present many countries grow cones on plantations but our forest nuts are still considered the most valuable, says Yevgeny Lepioshkin, a coordinator of the complex forest farming project.
“The value of the Primorye nut is higher. I know Chinese people who used to pick these nuts and want to continue picking them because they are ripe, they are picked up from the ground and not plucked from the tree like in China,” Yevgeny Lepioshkin said.
Due to the record harvest of the cedar nuts in Siberia and North China, the price for them is low compared with the previous seasons. Still, it is profitable for local people to sell them and in doing so they also protect the forest.