The main ecological function of forests is sanitary, water and climate protection. This is especially relevant for sparsely-wooded countries, such as our republic. Therefore, the priority tasks for the forest industry are conserving existing forests and increasing their size.
Forestland is an irreplaceable natural resource and its importance in light of conserving the genetic diversity of flora and fauna, carbon depositing and release of oxygen is significantly higher than its economic effect as a source of raw materials.
However, forestry scientists indicate the need for implementation of the industry’s problems based on the widespread introduction of innovative technologies as well as improving existing scientific developments. The activities of the Kazakh Scientific Research Institute of Forestry and Agro-Forest Melioration are aimed at achieving the objectives of forest husbandry, among which are forest breeding, selection and protection from pests, diseases and fires, the introduction of tree and shrub species and protective forest cultivation.
In the first half of this year, 11 recommendations were developed as part of the project “Improvement of technologies to increase the forest cover and resilience of forests in major forest zones of Kazakhstan.” One application was filed for the patent on the reproduction of western arborvitae; two candidates were selected for the varieties of haloxylon black and an information database was created on the distribution of organic carbon and its one-year deposit by forests.
In the future, our research topics will reflect the problematic issues of the forest sector. Thus, the draft research programme for 2015-2017 includes the development of more than 12 recommendations. Some specific projects of the programme are planned to be implemented at best world standards; in particular, patents for stock planting in forest nurseries with innovative technologies as well as the assessment of the state of pine plantations on the biometric indicators of assimilation apparatus. We will also apply for patents on selection achievements, such as hybrid varieties of Scots pine. For the first time, we will develop a technology of in vitro reproduction of poplar (Populus pruinosa) and Anthrax Altai (Sibiraea altaiensis), which are included on the Kazakh list of rare and endangered species. In addition, we plan to conduct research at the level of regional novelty, including obtaining new data on the current status, structure and age of birch plantations in Rudny Altai in order to save and restore their biodiversity and genetic resource-building potential. For the first time we also plan to conduct research on the distribution of carbon in the biomass in wooded lands of West and South Kazakhstan and develop recommendations for prevention of forest fires.
Research results will be cost-effective due to the use of modern technologies, the application of new biological drugs and mechanisation that will reduce the costs of forestry operations. Our research and development are aimed at improving the environmental situation of certain regions, including the dried-bottom territory of the Aral Sea, as well as conserving rare and endangered tree and shrub species and increasing the resilience of forests to changing climatic factors and diseases.
An additional source of forest science financing is the research conducted under contracts with such companies as JSC Astana Zelenstroy, Zhasyl Aimak, Astana Ormany LLP, which resulted in successful work in the green zone of Astana. Taking into account the complexity of soil and climatic conditions of the region, we consider it is expedient to further deepen research in this direction.
Kazakhstan’s programme for forest husbandry 2020 is presently under development. The document is aimed at creating conditions for the conservation and effective management of forest ecosystems and sustainable development of the forest sector of the republic. Only through joint efforts of all concerned agencies and the population we can achieve the planned objectives, including the preservation and enhancement of Kazakh forest resources.
The author, a doctor of agricultural sciences, is General Director of Kazakh Scientific Research Institute of Forestry and Agro-Forest Melioration.