The genus Larix, with around ten species, makes up a large fraction of the tree cover of the Boreal forests of Russia, with different species localised to particular longitudinal bands. Siberian larch trees are light-seeking pioneers which survive forest fires better than their competitors — a problem now that fires are controlled. They are often the biggest and oldest trees in mixed forests.
The history of larch silviculture in Scandinavia runs from the larch forest established by Peter I at Raviola, just outside St Petersburg, down to the Russian-Scandinavian seed project of the 1990s, which studied the success of larch seeds sampled from across Russia. Martinsson and Lesinski touch on seed treatment and seedling production, stand establishment and forest management, natural regeneration, yields, and pests and diseases.
With a dense, resistant heartwood that makes up most of the timber, untreated Siberian larch could potentially replace treated pine. Martinsson and Lesinski present results from tests of its decay resistance and mechanical properties, and of different methods of kiln-drying. They also include a range of photographs of furniture, bridges, buildings, etc. made with larch.
"The latewood is the dark part of the annual ring. This wood is formed in the later part of the growing season and has approximately three times higher density compared to the light part of the annual ring, the earlywood, which is produced at the beginning of the growing season. For mechanical strength and biological decay the total proportion of latewood is of great importance."
Siberian Larch could easily have been printed as a technical report, but the Jämtland County Council Institute of Rural Development has published it as an attractive hardcover with glossy paper and many colour photographs. There is the occasional problem with the English, but nothing too disconcerting.
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