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Siberian pine: strength, health, longevity

Ecology of Siberian pines: its role and significance in human life

Who doesn’t like cedar nuts? Sweet, tasty and very nutritious. Everyone likes them: people, animals, birds. A lot has been said about dietary and nutrient properties of these seeds. However, few people know that commonplace cedar nuts don’t actually grow on cedars. Those delicious nuts we’ve eaten since childhood are harvested from Siberian pines.  

True cedars are coniferous thermophilic evergreens. Presently, there are very few cedar forests in the world. These colossal trees grow on Mediterranean shores, in the Himalayas, in the Northern Africa and Middle Asia. Their glossy cones of light chocolate color are very beautiful. The cones are barrel-shaped and can grow up to 17 centimeters long. The nuts aren’t edible: enormous concentration of sap makes cedar kernels bitter.

A cedar in Lebanon, photo WEB

A cedar in Lebanon, photo WEB

In Russia, Siberian pines are widely spread in taiga forests of Siberia. Ussuri taiga, Transbaikal, the Altai and the Sayans are favorite growing areas of these pines. They also can be seen in the European North of Russia. For example, the Koryazhma pine grove is a well-known landmark of Arkhangelsk region.

The Koryazhma pine grove is a famous natural reserve, photo WEB

The Koryazhma pine grove is a famous natural reserve, photo WEB

For the first time this unique forest area was mentioned in chronicles written under the rule of Ivan the Terrible. First pines of the Koryazhma grove appeared in 1660 thanks to monks of the Nikolo-Koryazhemsky Monastery. It’s widely accepted that from this place Siberian pines started to spread along the Northern Dvina banks. By the 1930s, there were about 400 fully grown trees in the grove.

Первые кедры Коряжемской рощи появились благодаря монахам Николо-Коряжемского монастыря

First pines of the Koryazhma grove appeared thanks to Nikolo-Koryazhemsky monastery monks, photo WEB

The construction of the Kotlas Pulp and Paper Mill and rapid development of the Arkhangelsk region industrial complex in the Soviet era put the grove on the brink of extinction. More than 350 pines died within the 50 years. Only in 1979, when the Koryazhma grove was declared a natural monument, it became possible to stop the extinction.

Today, the Koryazhma Siberian pine grove occupies an area of slightly more than 17.5 square kilometers of vibrant pine and larch copses. It is a significant object of natural conservation now.

Воздух в кедровой роще обладает уникальными свойствами

Air of the pine grove has unique properties, photo WEB

Pine groves are mighty and magnificent. The air here is imbued with unique properties: it is saturated with negatively charged ions and phytoncides. These substances exhibit potent bactericidal action. They facilitate air purification and kill microbes. The aroma wafting from these trees is beneficial – it calms down and heals.

Siberian pines are resistant towards the aggressive impact of industrialized environment. In contrast to many other forest trees, pines endure smoke and soot of urban areas with ease. Moreover, Siberian pine plantations improve urban ecology through effective purification of polluted air. They also improve aesthetic properties of cities.

As of today, restoration of pine forests is a federal-level ecological issue

As of today, restoration of pine forests is a federal-level ecological issue, photo WEB

Pine wood is a versatile construction material. It is a valuable natural resource characterized by appealing texture, high durability and longevity. At that, it can be processed easily. This material is widely used in construction and furniture manufacturing.

Over a number of years pine forests were mercilessly felled without a second thought. The deforestation rate was incomparable with natural regrowth of trees. Siberian pine groves serve as habitats for numerous animals and birds. Certain species disappeared irreversibly when their homes were gone. That is why, restoration of pine forests is currently a federal-level ecological issue.

Pine nuts are healthy and nutritious, photo WEB

Pine nuts are healthy and nutritious, photo WEB

Siberian pines act as a food reserve not only for taiga animals and birds. Pine nuts are healthy and nutritious ― they are the number one source of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and micronutrients, essential for the human body.

Shelled kernels are an extremely valuable dietary product. They are indispensable in infant and teenager diet. They are recommended for pregnant women. If consumed in sufficient amounts, they influence the immune system positively.

Pine nut oil features a unique balance of components. It contains 95% of fatty amino acids ― a foundation of human energy reserves. It includes a complex of macro- and micronutrients, which ensure normal vital functions of the consumer.

Pine nut oil features uniquely balanced contents, photo WEB

Pine nut oil features uniquely balanced contents, photo WEB

Pine needles and nut shells can be used to make infusions, balms and ointments for ingestion, applications or rinsing.

For as long as anyone can remember, pine sap has been considered a genuine health potion. This remedy is actively used in folk medicine due to its bactericidal and wound-healing properties. In chemical industry pine sap serves as a raw material for turpentine and colophony, camphor and immersion oil.

Oksana Vlaskina, Saint Petersburg, Russia

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