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The Virgin Komi Forests - Essay Example

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The Virgin Komi Forests The Virgin Komi Forests are the largest virgin forest (ancient woodland) in Europe, covering an enormous 32,800km2. The Forests are located in the north-western region of the Komi Republic, situated near the Northern Ural Mountains in Russia…
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Download file to see previous pages However, there are a number of threats to the Forests, including illegal logging and gold-mining, which could cause irreversible damage to the area and the loss of species. This paper aims to illustrate the natural diversity of the area to convince you to provide money for the support of conservation programs in the Virgin Komi Forests. The Diversity of Life As previously mentioned, the Virgin Komi Forests are an incredibly large virgin forest, and encompass a number of important and iconic species. The grey wolf (Canis lupus) inhabits the area, and was once the world’s most widely distributed mammal but is now extinct in a number of areas. Most significantly, the grey wolf used to inhabit a huge amount of territory in Europe, and thus a safe ecological zone within Europe may be of great benefit in protecting this species. The wolverine (Gulo gulo) is also present in the Virgin Komi Forests. Although the wolverine is classified as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN Red List, this may be in part due to the fact that it is still common in North America. In Europe, however, trapping and habitat fragmentation have reduced the range of the wolverine and they are now absent in many of the areas in which they were once present. Again, a European protection area for this animal may be of great benefit (Bobretsov & Yakushev, 2008). Although these species are important, there are a number of further species which are classified as rare or endangered by the IUCN Red List. The Ural Mountain anemone species Anemone uralensis is also under threat in the area, mostly because of flooding and human agricultural efforts. The artic sorrel plant is also declining in the area, in part because of its use in Russian soups and in part because of the changing environment of the Forests. The Ecology of the Forests The aforementioned wolverine and grey wolf are just two of the important animals in the area, both of which have been greatly affected by the habitat fragmentation common in other parts of Europe. Protection of the Virgin Komi Forests should, therefore, not just focus on saving this creatures but the habitat in which they live, including a number of tree species which are necessary for their livelihood. The black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) is an example of a bird species in the area. These birds rely on tree species in the Virgin Komi Forests, such as the fir (Abies sibirica) and the Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) for their nesting sites and food (Kuuluvainen, Syrjanen & Kalliola, 1998). The black woodpecker also plays an additional ecological role, in that they abandon the holes they have made in the tree bark, which can then become important nesting sites for the smaller birds in the area. The Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) is also found in the Virgin Komi Forests. Beaver species are often important keystone species within their environment for a number of reasons. Firstly, beavers are involved in the creation of wetlands which can help to increase biodiversity, as well as providing a suitable habitat for other species. Beavers are also involved in tree coppicing, which again alters the natural habitat and provides tree cover for other species. Finally, beavers also play in important role in protecting fish species because their dams trap sediment and improve water quality (Gawthrop, 1999). Although the Eurasian beaver is of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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