According to the officially used Danish definition (The
National Forest and Nature Agency (Skov- og Naturstyrelsen) 1994), "Natural
forest originates from the original forest cover, i.e. a forest reproduced
naturally. Natural forest is thus a forest which has spontaneously generated
itself on the location and which consists of naturally immigrant tree species
and strains. Natural forests can be more or less influenced by culture, e.g. by
logging or regeneration techniques, but the forests must not have been subject
to regeneration by sowing or planting".
This definition is broader and more pragmatic than definitions and
perceptions used in the other Scandinavian countries (Tanninen
1994)and is comparable with the term "SEMI-NATURAL WOODLAND " (Kirby
. 1984). A key
point is the recognition of the very long term effects of former (and current)
direct and indirect human impacts.
Natural forest might be managed to some degree, or be
unmanaged (untouched, non-intervention forest, strict forest reserve). After an
adequate amount of time without intervention, such a forest might develop some
of the basic structures of a virgin forest and be considered as "VIRGIN-LIKE
NATURAL FOREST". An over-riding problem is that every spot is directly or
indirectly influenced by human activity; either directly by forestry operations,
cutting, planting and drainage, or indirectly by manipulation of the grazing
regime, air pollution, hindering the immigration and spreading of natural
species and influencing the kind and amount of dominant species in the
landscape. Dynamics in a non-intervention system will be affected by former
activities for hundreds of years and no part of the forest can be viewed in
isolation, but is an integral part of the surrounding forest and landscape.
Kirby, K.J., Petersen, G.F., Spencer, J.W., & Walker, G. J., 1984:
Inventories of ancient semi-natural woodland. Nature Conservancy Council: Focus on nature conservation,
: 67 pp.
Møller, P.F 2000: The Danish strategy for natural
forests - Background, realisation and perspectives. Eesti Metsakaitsealade
Võrgustiku Rajamine. University of Tartu, Estland. p. 6-12.
Tanninen, T., Storrank, B., Haugen, I., Møller, P.F., Löfgren, R.,
Thorsteinsson, I., & Ragnarsson, H., 1998: Natural Woodlands in the Nordic
Countries. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen.
1998:6. 101 pp.
The National Forest and Nature Agency (Skov- og
Naturstyrelsen) 1994: Strategy for Natural Forests and Other Forest Types of
High Conservation Value in Denmark. Ministry of the Environment. 48 pp.
Peter Friis Møller
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