History and Main Achievements
The State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station” was founded in 1892 as Veliko-Anadolsky Division of the “Special expedition to test and record various measures and techniques of forest and water management in the steppes of Russia” under the direction of V. V. Dokuchaev. The task was to determine the strategic ways and methods of preventing the destruction of fertile soils by forestry methods, namely: creating plantations in the steppe in the most open spaces as protective strips; creating forests on small flat-bottom valleys and wastelands; fixing ravines and river banks; creating industrial plantations, including gardens; landscaping water bodies and regulating steppe rivers.
Many years of research covered a number of issues related to the fertilizer treatment of artificial plantations, systems of furrowing, and features of the development of seed and vegetative forests. The most significant scientific achievements were the development of shrub and wood and shadow types of species mixing, the determination of the range of appropriate main and associated forest species, the invention of the furrow-ribbon method of creating oak plantations with the subsequent introduction of accompanying species, and the development of mechanical means such as a tree-seed drill, an excavating plow and a tree-planting machine. The reclamation effect of plantings on crop yield, microclimate, and soil fertility was investigated. The optimal structure of the strips was defined. The categories of forest-use of non-productive and degraded lands for afforestation were determined. A series of studies were carried out in natural and artificial forests of the natural reserve fund of the Donetsk region. Work has been done to improve the ecological status of small rivers and water bodies. Monitoring of the health condition, productivity, and biodiversity of forest plantations was carried out. The processes of drying in the forests of the Donetsk region were investigated and ways of their regeneration were developed. About 500 hardy-shrub species were tested for resistance against a number of abiotic and biotic factors; their growth and development, phenology, and fruiting were studied, the most suitable ones were identified. The technologies of creation and growing of reclamation plantings in the region have been developed and improved.
The Current State of the Agro-forest Complex of the State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station”
Today, forests of Dokuchaev Forest Agrarian Complex are mainly oak-trees of the IX-XІІ grades of age with a high site class and an average stocking of 0.7-0.8, a stock of stemwood is up to 270–350 m3per ha (the stock of the best plantations having the optimal composition at the age of 100–110 years reaches 450–550 m3 per ha). Their soil enhancing and protecting features are indicative. At present, the depth of humus horizon under the plantations of the State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station” is 0.8 m; the humus content is 6 %. The stock of humus under the forest plantations is 600 tons per ha and it is 500 tons per ha in the fields protected with forest strips. Oak plantations (compartments 16, 21, 30, 52, 66, 67) and small areas of introduced species of Quercus rubra (compartment 80), Picea abies (compartment 95), Larix decidua (compartment 14) are the best growing ones. For forestry characteristics, forests of the State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station” are the best in the artificially created agro-forest ecosystems of the Steppe zone. They have higher efficiency and land improvement properties.
Directions of Scientific Research of the State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station” for the Near Future
For the near future, the areas of scientific research of the State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station” will be the following: the assessment of the present state of the forests in Donetsk region, including protection and agroforestry improvement, increasing forests’ ecological and protective efficiency; reforestation after dying trees; afforestation of the banks of water bodies, remediation of non-productive and disturbed lands according to landscape-biological principles; optimization of assortment of ornamental dendroflora and methods of its reproduction. The State Enterprise “Mariupol Forest Research Station” is the only forest research institution in the region that solves scientific and practical tasks for the steady and consistent implementation of ecologically sound systems of forestry and forest use in the Steppe with a view to conservation and efficient use of natural resources and improvement of the environment quality, therefore, its further existence is indisputable and relevant.