Taking into account the complex, multifunctional importance of forests, the problem of rational use of forest resources, in combination with measures on their protection and reproduction, is a topical problem in Tomsk Region.
The area under forest in the region is 58.2%. Forests in the region are distributed irregularly. The least forested areas are Shegarsky and Kozhevnikovsky districts, the most forested one is Pervomaysky. Forest areas are mainly represented by softwood, which takes 58% of the area under forest. According to conditions of growth of woods, Tomsk Region belongs to two forest type zones: the middle and southern taiga. The middle taiga zone includes two subzones: cedar and pine bog forest and birch and pine and dark coniferous forest. The middle taiga zone includes all forests situated on the western bank of the Ob River and to the north of the Ket River. All other forests belong to the southern taiga zone. Most widely spread in forests of Tomsk Region are green moss group of types of forests. The share of this group in the area under forest fluctuates between 6.0% (the middle taiga zone) and 35% (the southern taiga zone). The second and the third place by spreading belong to sphagnous and mixed herbs group of types of forests. Other types of forests are insignificant in the forest fund.
The forest fund and forests not included into the forest fund of Tomsk Region make up 29.2 million ha. The area of the forest fund subject to the control of the Head Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection in Tomsk Region is 26.7 million ha, including area of forest lands – 17.6 million ha (17.4 million ha of them are covered by forests), non-forest lands – 9.1 million ha. The area of the forest fund subject to the control of FSI “Tomskselles” is 1.5 million ha. The forests not included into the forest fund are defense forests and town forests.
The total forest reserves are 2608.7 million cub. m. Mature and overmature forest is 63% of the total forest, stand approaching maturity is 16%, middle-aged forest is 18%, young stand is 3%. The forest reserves per 1 ha make up, on the average, 149 cub. m, including that by conifer one - 153 cub. m, by deciduous one - 145 cub. m. The extent of forest exploitation is regulated by calculated felling rate, which was approved for Tomsk Region as much as 26.9 million cub. m, including, by conifer forest – 7.2 million cub. m. The forests are characterized by a rather low productivity. The middle yield class of conifer forest equals IY,1, that of deciduous forest is III,2. The middle yield for all forests is III,8. Stand with density of 05-07, which takes 69% of the area under forest, dominates.
At present there are some problems in the forestry, solutions of which will contribute to efficient and rational use of forest resources:
- main forest resource is underused: in 2001 1.7 million cub. m (6%) were actually cut, including by conifer forest – 1.2 million cub. m (15%);
- the volumes of works on forest management and forest monitoring have been reduced;
- air forest protection has sharply reduced the time in the air for forest protection from fires, the level of forest patrol works has reduced by 80%;
- measures on construction of new buildings of fire-chemical stations, air departments, forest cordons, garages, warehouses of explosive materials have almost been stopped;
- the material and technical basis is almost exhausted, during a number of years subdivisions of forest fire protection services have not been provided with modern means of fire extinguishing, transport and communications;
- the personnel number of the forest service has reduced.