V e g e t a t i o n
Kedrovaya Padj vegetation is chiefly composed of trees, which occupy 13,094
ha or 73.1% of its total area (Fig.1).
Shrub thickets and secondary meadows caused by past chopping and especially
fire occupy the rest.
In Kedrovaya Padj, trees were chopped before the revolution and exported across the sea to Japan, given that the proximity of Amur Bay facilitated transportation of lumber. Forest fires raged and continue to rage on the outskirt (Fig.2) to damage the multispecific conifer—broad-leaf forests, the basic type of Kedrovaya’s vegetation. On the outskirts, meadows, non-compact tree-shrub thickets and low-productive secondary oak groves (Fig.3) replaced the fine forests. An almost intact, virgin forest still grows only in the upper reaches of Kedrovaya River. The organization of the Preserve here saved the unique vegetation and picturesque world of southern Primorye from complete destruction. Various shrubs, often blossoming beautifully, for instance by early-blossoming honeysuckle, early Weigela (Fig.4), thin-leaf mock orange (Fig.5), etc represent the undergrowth. Lianas entwine tree trunks towering up to 30-35 m high, the diameter of curling lianas of the Amur grape and Actinide attaining 10-15 cm. Like giant snakes, they crawl along the ground to entangle shrubs and tightly embrace trees (Fig.6). Such sites are outwardly reminiscent of the tropical forest. The similarity is even more vividly emphasized by the intricate crowns of the Manchurian nut-tree and the Philodendron, the spiked trunks of the dimorphant and the Manchurian aralia (Fig.7), and the tall luxurious fronds of numerous ferns (Fig.8). Epiphyte is encountered in bark cracks and in tree forks along with the Ussuri polypody, a small fern (Fig.9).
The most valuable are black spruce—broad-leaf or black spruce forests, which occupy just over 10% of Kedrovaya’s total area. Ninety-five percent of them are black spruce forests, which grow in the Russia’s Far East only in the southernmost part of Primorye, where the northeastern boundary of their common range passes in East Asia. Black spruce forests chiefly grow beyond Russia, in the northeastern areas of China and in Korea. In Primorye, they are well preserved only in Ussuri and Kedrovaya Padj preserves, being distinguished in Kedrovaya by high typological diversity and floristic wealth. None of Russia’s conifer forest formations are comparable in floristic wealth and multispecific composition with those of her black spruce—broad-leaf forests (Fig.10).
These forests are chiefly formed by the black spruce, so named by foresters because of its dark bark color. The black spruce is the biggest tree of the Russian Far East. In the upper part of River Kedrovaya basin, one can encounter specimens of this species up to 45-50 m tall, ranging from 1.5 to 2 m in diameter at chest height, and aged from 400 to 500 years old (Fig.11).
Kedrovaya’s black spruce forests are richer floristically than those of Ussuri Preserve are. In Kedrovaya, they grow over all relief elements, including river valleys, rocky watersheds and large rocky slopes of preferentially southern exposures, where in summertime high air humidity is observed with no abrupt temperature fluctuations, and where the soil freezes to a lesser depth and in wintertime there is no inversion point (Fig.12). Virgin or indigenous black spruce forests have remained only in the center of the Preserve, in the upper reaches of River Kedrovaya. In the upper part of steep mountain slopes, you come across dry black spruce forests, and among them often the iron (Schmidt’s) birch, some of whose specimens are up to 20 m tall and 80 cm in diameter. In these areas, black spruce forests have major slope- and soil-conserving significance (Fig.13).
Light black spruce forests are the most widespread group. They occupy the middle and lower parts of steep and flat slopes in all exposures, and are highly valuable, containing as they do a large number of relict plants, including rare species.
In addition to the black spruce, the tree stock also includes the Amur and Manchurian lindens, the Mongolian oak, the yellow or ribbed birch, the Korean cedar, the lobed elm, and the small-leafed maple. Here you also come across a representative of the Aralia family, the seven-lobed Calopanax, a tree growing to as much as 25-27 m, diameter up to 80 (Fig.14). You can also encounter the small-fruited alder, another rare tree plant of the rosewood family. When its trunk diameter reaches 35-40 cm, it grows 18-20 m tall. In the undergrowth, you encounter the thin-leafed mock orange, the Amur Deutzia, three honeysuckle species (early-flowering, humped, Ruprecht), the Eunonymus (small-flowered and long-winged), the Manchurian and Komarov currant, the spiked Eleutherococcus, etc. (Fig.15). Of lianas, you would come across the acicular Actinide (Fig.16) with trunk diameter equal to 12-16 cm, entwining 25 m-tall trees to form dense green tents in their crowns.
Despite its name “Kedrovaya” (“cedar wood” in Russian), cedar forests are totally uncharacteristic of the Preserve, something already noted before the Russian revolution by assessors involved in Kedrovaya’s forest management. A small site of about 40 ha with prevalence of Korean cedar occurs in the upper section of Kedrovaya River basin on the northern slope of Sukhorechensk ridge.
White spruce—broad-leaf forests are insignificantly distributed in Kedrovaya, occupying approximately 100 ha or 0.7% of its entire forest-covered area. You come across these forests on the northern steep slopes of Mts. Chalban, Uglovaya and Podkrestovaya at an altitude of 400-600 m, and also in the lower section of closed northern slopes adjacent to River Kedrovaya valley and in narrow shaded valleys of mountain streams, where masses of cold air hang for a long time with resultant continued icing (Fig.17). The white-crust spruce is the basic forest-forming species, growing to 23-25 m tall, trunk diameter 50-60 cm, till the age of 120-140. Of conifer species, you come across the cedar and the black spruce. Single specimens of the cuspidate yew and Ayan and Korean fir grow in the upper section of steep northern slopes. Of larchwood species, the Amur and Manchurian lime, the small-leaf, green-bark, the yellow and pseudo-Siebold maples, the yellow, Daurian and Manchurian birches, and other species are widespread (Fig.18). Common in the undergrowth are the mock orange, the Deutzia, the Eleutherococcus, and the barbate maple. Continental Aralia is noted at the foothills of mountain slopes, and Wolf’s lilac and tall Echinopanax (Fig.19) in the upper reaches of mountain springs.
Mongolian oak forests are widespread in Kedrovaya to include nearly half of the area. A significant portion of oak forests is of derivative nature, resulting from human economic activity and replacing the previously existing conifer—broad-leaf forests. Indigenous oak forests are encountered in Kedrovaya over steep slopes adjoining the rocky ridges of watersheds (Fig.20). In such oak forests, you frequently come across a valuable relict tree species, the Schmidt or iron birch. You also come across small thin forest sites consisting of the southern dentate oak. Most of them are located over the southern and southeastern slopes of Sukhorechensk ride adjoining the valley of River Narva. The Schlippenbach rhododendron, a rather rare species, was also noted here. Lespedeza oak forests are widespread in Kedrovaya. They occupy medium-steep slopes of all exposures. Apart from the Mongolian oak, the yellow, black and Schmidt birches, the Amur and Manchurian limes, the Japanese elm, the small-leaf maple, and the Sakhalin cherry tree also take part in the stand composition (Fig.21). Fern oak forests, encountered over flat concave slopes of all exposures and over flood terraces, is distributed insignificantly. The undergrowth here is sparse, and such ferns as the brown Osmunda and Aspidium filix femina varieties dominate in the grass cover.
Broad-leaf forests place second after oak forests, occupying 16% of Kedrovaya’s forest-covered area. They grow over medium-steep slopes of all exposures over a strip of 100-300 m above sea level, consisting chiefly of filbert linden groves with small-leaf maple trees and ash trees growing in mixed grass (Fig.22). In Southern Primorye, nose-leaf ash forests are represented most fully in Kedrovaya Padj. The are interesting in that they are essentially show one of the stages of forest development from Mongolian oak. Manchurian ash forests are most often encountered over high-level flood terraces, which sometimes, during large inundation, are briefly flooded. In addition to Manchurian ash forests and concomitant broad-leaf species, peculiar groupings with predominance of the Manchurian nut-tree and Amur cork are encountered in Kedrovaya River valley, occupying small sites of 1 ha and less.
In Kedrovaya, shrub vegetation is represented by two-color lespedeza and heterophyllous filbert, which resulted from Mongolian oak forest fires. Two-color lespedeza thickets are most typical of the southwestern and western outskirts of Kedrovaya, and thickets of heterophyllous filbert of its northern and western parts (Fig.23).
Meadow-type vegetation is also insignificantly distributed in Kedrovaya, including alpine gramineous-mixed grass meadows (Fig.24), ground reed-grass meadows, reddening myscanthus and lowland sedge-reed grass meadows. Ground reed grass meadows represent the initial stage of shrub thicket replacement promoted by lowland fires. As the soil solidifies, gramineous-mixed grass meadows form instead, and in absence of fires are replaced by shrub thickets, under whose protection tree species regrow (Fig.25). In most cases, lowland sedge-reed grass meadows formed instead of destroyed willow groves and Japanese alder trees. To restore the initial grouping is normally unfeasible because of increasing soil bogging.
N. Vassiliev, A. Pankratiev and E. Panov. Kedrovaya Padj Preserve: Popular-Scientific Survey. Vladivostok: Far Eastern Book Publishers, 1965, 57 pp. (in Russian).
N. Vassiliev. Vegetation of Kedrovaya Padj Preserve. In
Collected Articles: Flora and Fauna of Kedrovaya Padj Preserve. Vladivostok:
F.E. Science Center, USSR
Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biology and Soil Science, 1972, 17-24 (in
N. Vassiliev, S. Kharkevich and Yu. Shibnev. Kedrovaya Padj Preserve. Moscow: Lesnaya promyshlennostj (Lumber Industry), 1984, 56-118 (in Russian).
Sanctuaries of the USSR: Sanctuaries of the Russian Far East. Eds. V. Sokolov and E. Syroechkovsky. Moscow: Mysl Publishers, 1985, 279-283 (in Russian).
Fig. 1. General View of Kedrovaya
Fig. 2. Forest Fire.
Fig. 3. Low-Productive Secondary Oak Groves.
Fig. 4. Early Weigela in Bloom.
Fig. 5. Thin-leaf mock orange.
Fig. 6. Amur grape.
Fig. 7. Manchurian Aralia.
Fig. 8. Valley forest with fern.
Fig. 9. Ussuri Polypody.
Fig. 10. Black spruce in snow.
Fig. 11. Black spruce.
Fig. 12. Black spruce—broad-leaved forest.
Fig. 13. Hill slopes with spruce.
Fig. 14. Dimorphant or Seven-Lobe Calopanax.
Fig. 15.Manchurian currant.
Fig. 16. Cuspidate Actinidia (liana).
Fig. 17. Garaisky spring.
Fig. 18. Linden fruiting.
Fig. 19. Tall Echinopanax.
Fig. 20. Oak grove with rhododendron.
Fig. 21. Sakhalin cherry in bloom.
Fig. 22. Broad-leaved forest.
Fig. 23. Two-color lespedeza in bloom.
Fig. 24. Mixed grass meadow.
Fig. 25. Meadow with sugar-color reed grass.
Rare Vascular Plant Species
I. SHIBNEVA, Leading Engineer, Kedrovaya Padj Preserve.