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Open AccessArticle

Landscape Approach towards Integrated Conservation and Use of Primeval Forests: The Transboundary Kovda River Catchment in Russia and Finland

1
School for Forest Management, Faculty of Forest Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-739 21 Skinnskatteberg, Sweden
2
Faculty of Forest Science and Ecology, Vytautas Magnus University, LT-53361 Akademija, Lithuania
3
Faculty of Geography, Ivan Franko National University, 79000 Lviv, Ukraine
4
Ecology Research Group, Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University, N-7729 Steinkjer, Norway
5
Karelian Research Centre, Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia 185030, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2020, 9(5), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050144
Received: 20 April 2020 / Revised: 30 April 2020 / Accepted: 7 May 2020 / Published: 9 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Landscapes - Challenges and Solutions to Landscape Governance)
Regional clear-felling of naturally dynamic boreal forests has left remote forest landscapes in northern Europe with challenges regarding rural development based on wood mining. However, biodiversity conservation with higher levels of ambition than what is possible in regions with a long forest history, and cultural heritage, offer opportunities for developing new value chains that support rural development. We explored the opportunities for pro-active integrated spatial planning based on: (i) landscapes’ natural and cultural heritage values in the transboundary Kovda River catchment in Russia and Finland; (ii) forest canopy loss as a threat; and (iii) private, public and civil sector stakeholders’ views on the use and non-use values at local to international levels. After a 50-year history of wood mining in Russia, the remaining primeval forest and cultural heritage remnants are located along the pre-1940 Finnish-Russian border. Forest canopy loss was higher in Finland (0.42%/year) than in Russia (0.09%/year), and decreased from the south to the north in both countries. The spatial scales of stakeholders’ use of forest landscapes ranged from stand-scale to the entire catchment of Kovda River in Russia and Finland (~2,600,000 ha). We stress the need to develop an integrated landscape approach that includes: (i) forest landscape goods; (ii) other ecosystem services and values found in intact forest landscapes; and (iii) adaptive local and regional forest landscape governance. Transboundary collaboration offers opportunities for effective knowledge production and learning. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; cultural heritage; economic periphery; rural development; transboundary conservation; spatial planning biodiversity conservation; cultural heritage; economic periphery; rural development; transboundary conservation; spatial planning
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Angelstam, P.; Manton, M.; Yamelynets, T.; Sørensen, O.J.; Kondrateva (Stepanova), S.V. Landscape Approach towards Integrated Conservation and Use of Primeval Forests: The Transboundary Kovda River Catchment in Russia and Finland. Land 2020, 9, 144.

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