Address: 17 Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, Arkhangelsk 163002 Russian Federation. Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V.Lomonosov. Office 1425

Phone / Fax: (818-2) 21-61-18



Reintroduction of Curly Birch. P. 9–31

Версия для печати
Creative Commons License
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Lidia V. Vetchinnikova, Alexander F. Titov

Complete text of the article:

Download article (pdf, 0.8MB )






The paper offers a systematic overview of the results of research regarding reintroduction of curly (Karelian) birch Betula pendula Roth var. carelica (Mercklin) Hämet-Ahti published by Russian and foreign authors over the past few decades. We briefly outline the current situation with its resources and the key causes of their decline in the late 20th – early 21st centuries, such as mass-scope illegal logging, vanishing or substantial alteration of typical curly birch habitats, as well as some biological features (fragmented distribution, low competitive capacity, etc.). The main outcomes of the curly birch introduction activities in the areas lying far beyond its natural distribution (mainly to the south-east from it) are reported. It is shown that the experience of curly birch reintroduction in Russia is mostly based on planting of forests and establishment of specially protected areas. The results of curly birch reintroduction in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belarus and other countries are observed. Although reintroduction is not equally effective in all countries (its success depends on many factors), it has made and is making a significant contribution to the preservation and augmentation of the resources of this unique member of the European forest tree flora. Importantly, the curly birch from the reintroductions performed in different years and different edaphic and climatic conditions steadily retains its key biological features, such as figured grain and diversity of growth forms and trunk surface characteristics, which once again confirms the authors’ previously expressed opinion that there are grounds for classifying the curly birch as a separate biological species. Proceeding from the analysis of the data amassed by now, it is suggested that that the efficiency of curly birch reintroduction to its natural habitats can be promoted by mainly using the stocking material of local provenance (when restoring populations) or by transferring it from other populations (for repatriation cases). An important role in the preservation and reproduction of curly birch belongs to the micropropagation technique.


Lidia V. Vetchinnikova1*, Doctor of Biology, Assoc. Prof., Chief Research Scientist; ResearcherID: J-5665-2018, ORCID:
Alexander F. Titov2,3, Corresp. Member of RAS, Doctor of Biology, Prof., Chief Research Scientist; ResearcherID: A-6705-2014, ORCID:


1Forest Research Institute of Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Pushkinskaya, 11, Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, 185910, Russian Federation;*
2Institute of Biology of Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Pushkinskaya, 11, Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, 185910, Russian Federation
3Department of Multidisciplinary Scientific Research of Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Pushkinskaya, 11, Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, 185910, Russian Federation;


curly birch, curly birch resources, gene pool, curly birch distribution, introduction, reintroduction, forest plantations, local populations, micropropagation


The research was supported by the World-class Scientific and Educational Center “Russian Arctic: New Materials, Technologies and Research Methods” and funded from the federal budget as part of the state assignment of the Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Forest Research Institute, KarRC RAS – Topic No. 121061500082-2; Institute of Biology, KarRC RAS – Topic No. 0218-2019-0074; Department of Multidisciplinary Scientific Research, KRC RAS).

For citation

Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Reintroduction of Curly Birch. Lesnoy Zhurnal = Russian Forestry Journal, 2022, no. 3, pp. 9–31. (In Russ.).


  1. Bagayev S.N. Karelian and Burr-Root Birch in the Forests of the Kostroma Region. Lesnoye khozyaystvo, 1963, no. 6, pp. 20–22. (In Russ.).

  2. Bagaev S.S. Test of Posterities of Geographical Populations of Karelian Birch in the Kirov Region. Structural and Functional Deviations from Normal Growth and Development of Plants under the Influence of Environmental Factors. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 2011, pp. 21–24. (In Russ.).

  3. Bayburina R.K. Micropropagation of Adult Hybrids of Curly Birch in tissue culture. Rastitelnye Resursy, 1998, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 9–22. (In Russ.).

  4. Barsukova T.L. Karelian Birch in Belarus. Intensification of Forestry in the Byelorussian SSR. Moscow, VNIILM Publ., 1987, pp. 142–149. (In Russ.).

  5. Bednova O.V. Reintroduction, Repatriation, Restoration… and Urbanization. Priroda, 2014, no. 10, pp. 27–35. (In Russ.).

  6. Belousova N.A. Development of the Protected Natural Fund of Karelia and Its Current State: Preprint of the Report. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 1987. 52 p. (In Russ.).

  7. Belousova N.A. Forest and Botanical Reserves of Karelia. Protected Natural Territories and Natural Monuments of Karelia. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 1992, pp. 71–81. (In Russ.).

  8. Vetchinnikova L.V. Karelian Birch and Other Rare Representatives of the Genus Betula L. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 2005. 269 p. (In Russ.).

  9. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. The Role of Protected Areas in the Conservation of the Curly Birch Gene Pool. Transactions of Karelian Research Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences. Ecological Studies Series, 2018, no. 10, pp. 3–11. (In Russ.).

  10. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A. F. Karelian Birch in Sanctuaries in the Republic of Karelia: History, Current State, Problems. Botanicheskii Zhurnal, 2018, vol. 103, no. 2, pp. 256–265. (In Russ.).

  11. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. The Karelian Birch – a Unique Biological Object. Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii = Biology Bulletin Reviews, 2020, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 102–114. (In Eng.).

  12. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Update on the Boundaries of the Curly Birch Range. Lesnoy Zhurnal = Russian Forestry Journal, 2020, no. 6, pp. 9–21. (In Russ.).

  13. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Specific Characteristics of Curly Birch Population Structure. Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii = Biology Bulletin Reviews, 2021, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 102–114. (In Eng.).

  14. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Current Status of Betula pendula var. carelica (Betulaceae) Resources. Rastitelnye Resursy, 2020, vol. 56, iss. 1, pp. 16–33. (In Russ.).

  15. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Curly Birch: Major Research Results and Prospects for Future Research: Monograph. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 2021. 243 p. (In Russ.).

  16. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Introduction of the Curly Birch. Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii = Biology Bulletin Reviews, 2021, vol. 141, no. 3, pp. 296–309. (In Russ.).

  17. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F. Assessment of Curly Birch Introduction Prospects. Transactions of Karelian Research Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences. Experimental Biology Series, 2021, no. 3, pp. 21–35. (In Russ.).

  18. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F., Kuznetsova T.Yu. Curly Birch: Biological Characteristics, Resource Dynamics, and Reproduction. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 2013. 312 p. (In Russ.).

  19. Vetchinnikova L.V., Titov A.F., Topchieva L.V. A Study of the Genetic Diversity and Differentiation of Northern and Southern Curly Birch Populations. Genetika = Russian Journal of Genetics, 2021, vol. 57, iss. 4, pp. 416–422. (In Eng.).

  20. Gorbunov Yu.N., Dzybov D.S., Kuz’min Z.E., Smirnov I.A. Guidelines for Reintroduction of Rare and Endangered Plant Species (for Botanical Gardens). Tula, Grif and K Publ., 2008. 56 p. (In Russ.).

  21. Evdokimov A.P. Biology and Crop of Curly Birch. Leningrad, LSU Publ., 1989. 228 p. (In Russ.).

  22. Ermakov V.I. Mechanisms of Birch Adaptation to the North Conditions. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1986. 144 p. (In Russ.). 

  23. In vitro Collection of Rare Plant Clones of Betulaceae Family. Scientific and Technological Infrastructure of the Russian Federation: Centers of Collective Use of Scientific Equipment and Unique Scientific Installations. (In Russ.).

  24. Korovin S.E., Kuzmin Z.E. On Concepts and Terminology in Plant Introduction. Bulletin of the Main Botanical Garden, 1997, iss. 175, pp. 3–11. (In Russ.).

  25. The Red Data Book of the Vladimir Region. Vladimir, Tranzit-IKS Publ., 2010. 400 p. (In Russ.).

  26. The Red Data Book of the Republic of Karelia. Petrozavodsk, Kareliya Publ., 2007. 368 p. (In Russ.).

  27. The Red Data Book of the Republic of Karelia. Belgorod, Konstanta Publ., 2020. 448 p. (In Russ.).

  28. The Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (Plants and Fungi). Moscow, Tovarishchestvo nauchnykh izdaniy KMK, 2008. 855 p. (In Russ.).

  29. Lyubavskaya A.Ya. Karelian Birch. Moscow, Lesnaya promyshlennost’ Publ., 1978. 158 p. (In Russ.).

  30. Lubavski D.V. Experience of Growing Karelian Birch on Recultivate Soils. Lesnoy vestnik = Forestry Bulletin, 2006, no. 5, pp. 100–104. (In Russ.).

  31. Makhnev A.K. Introduction of Karelian Birch in the Middle Urals, Introduction and Acclimatization of Ornamental Plants. Sverdlovsk, UNTs AN SSSR Publ., 1982, pp. 30–35. (In Russ.).

  32. Specially Protected Natural Territories of the Republic of Karelia. Petrozavodsk, 2017, 432 p. (In Russ.).

  33. Vetchinnikova L.V., Kuznetsova T.Yu. Method for Clonal Micro-Reproduction of Betulaceae Family Plants. Patent RF no. RU 2627194 C1, 2017. (In Russ.).

  34. Vetchinnikova L.V., Kuznetsova T.Yu., Petrova N.E., Serebryakova O.S., Stepanova A.I. Method for Producing Micro Bine of Plants of the Betulaceae Family. Patent RF no. RU 2650754 C1, 2018. (In Russ.).

  35. Vetchinnikova L.V., Serebryakova O.S. Method for Accelerated Cultivation of Planting Material of Woody Plants of Betulaceae Family Based on in vitro Cloning. Patent RF no. RU 2756074 C1, 2021. (In Russ.).

  36. Pobirushko V.F. Distribution and Variability of Karelian Birch in Belarus. Botany: Collection of Academic Papers. Minsk, Navuka i tekhnika Publ., 1992, iss. 31, pp. 31–39. (In Russ.).

  37. Prokhorova E.V., Nesvetaev V.A. Experience of Cultivation of the Karelian Birch on Constant Wood a Seed a Site in Shabalinskom Timber Enterprise of the Kirov Area. Lesnoy vestnik = Forestry Bulletin, 2007, no. 5, pp. 90–96. (In Russ.).

  38. Pugachevskiy A.V. Karelian Birch in Belarus. Minsk, 2008. 8 p. (In Russ.).

  39. Red’ko G.I., Branovitskiy M.L., Gusev S.P. Forest Plantations in the Okhta Training and Experimental Forestry. Leningrad, LTA Publ., 1991. 76 p. (In Russ.).

  40. Sidor A.I., Kovalevich A.I., Luferova N.S., Revyako I.D., Mal’tseva L.V., Fomin E.A. Karelka: What we have... Forestry and Hunting. Minsk, Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Belarus, 2016, no. 11, pp. 18–23. (In Russ.).

  41. Sokolov A.I. Increasing the Resource Potential of Taiga Forests Using the Forestry Method. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 2016. 178 p. (In Russ.).

  42. Sokolov A.I., Fedorez N.G., Krivenko T.I., Leibonen E.E., Novitskaja L.L. Early Stages in the Formation of Biogeocenoses at Curly Birch Cultivation on the Spoil Banks of Kostomukshskoye Iron Ore Deposit. Izvestia Sankt-Peterburgskoj Lesotehniceskoj Akademii = News of the Saint Petersburg State Forest Technical Academy, 2010, no. 191, pp. 22–31. (In Russ.).

  43. Sokolov N.O. Curly Birch. Petrozavodsk, Gosudarstvennoye izdate’stvo Karelo-Finskoy SSR, Sortaval’skaya knizhnaya tipografiya, 1950. 116 p. (In Russ.).

  44. Tabatskaya T.M., Butova G.P., Mashkina O.S. Object No. 95. Experimental Plantations of Economically Valuable Forms of Karelian Birch Created on the Basis of in vitro Technology. Experimental and Production Breeding and Seed-Growing Facilities of NIILGiS. 2004, vol. 2, p. 171. (In Russ.).

  45. Shurova M.L. State of Karelian Birch Plantations in the Republic of Karelia. Structural and Functional Deviations from Normal Growth and Development of Plants Influenced by Environmental Factors. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 2011, pp. 305–310. (In Russ.).

  46. Consensus Document on the Biology of European White Birch (Betula pendula Roth). Series on Harmonisation of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology, No. 28. Paris, OECD, 2003. 45 p.

  47. Emanuelsson J. The Natural Distribution and Variation of Curly Birch (Betula pendula Roth var. carelica (Merkl.) Sok.) in Sweden: Examensarbete i ämnet skogsskötsel. Umeå, Institutionen för skogsskötsel sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, 1999. 54 p. (In Swe.).

  48. Etholén K. Kokemuksia visakoivun kasvatuksesta lapissa [Experimental Growing of Curly Birch in Finnish Lapland]. Silva Fennica, 1978, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 264–274. (In Fin.). 

  49. 49. Ewald D., Naujoks G., Piegert H. Performance and Wood Quality of in vitro Propagated Hybrid Curly Birch (Betula pendula × Betula pendula var. carelica Sok.) Clones. Silvae Genetica, 2000, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 98–101.

  50. Hagqvist R., Mikkola A. Visakoivun kasvatus ja käyttö. Metsäkustannus Oy, 2008. 168 s. (In Fin.).

  51. Heikinheimo O. Kokemuksia visakoivun kasvatuksesta. Communicationes Instituti Forestalis Fenniae, 1951, vol. 39(5), pp. 1–26. (In Fin.).

  52. Hodnebrog T. Valbjørk: produksjon på utvalgte kloner. Ås, Forskningsparken, 1996. 3 p. (In Nor.).

  53. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 3.1. Switzerland, IUCN, 2012. 33 p.

  54. Johnsson H. Avkommor av masurbjork. Svenska Skogsvardsföreningens Tidskrift, 1951, Bd. 49, Nr. 1, S. 34–45. (In Swe.).

  55. Kleinschmit J. Konsequenzen aus Birkenzüchtung für die forstliche Praxis. Forst und Holz, 2002, Jg. 57, Nr. 15/16, S. 470–475. (In Ger.).

  56. Kosonen M., Leikola M., Hagqvist R., Mikkola A., Välitalo H. Visakoivu = Curly Birch. Metsälehti Kustannus, 2004. 208 p. (In Fin.; In Eng.).

  57. Martinsson O. Odling av masurbjörk – en outvecklad nisch för svenskt skogsbruk. Fakta Skog, 1995, nr. 11. 4 s. (In Swe.).

  58. Martinsson O., Vetchinnikova L. Management, Reproduction and Protection of Karelian Birch in Fennoscandia. Proceedings of the International Conference: Biological Basis of the Study, Management and Protection of Flora, Fauna and the Cover in Eastern Fennoscandia. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 1999, pp. 64–65.

  59. Matschke J., Ewald D., Bolland G., Schneck H. Möglichkeiten der beschleunigten Vermehrung von Braunmaserbirken. Beiträge für Forstwirtschaft und Landschaftsökologie, 1987, Bd. 21, Nr. 1, S. 21–25. (In Ger.).

  60. Mejnartowicz L. Genetyka. Red. S. Białobok. Brzozy Betula L. Warszawa–Poznań, Polska Akademia Nauk, 1979, s. 219–264. (In Pol.).

  61. Mikkelä H. Guide to the Montell Trail in the Punkaharju Experimental Area. Helsinki, Finnish Forest Research Institute, 1992. 27 p.

  62. Naujoks G., Schneck V., Dietrich E. 30 Jahre In-vitro-Vermehrung der BraunmaserBirke. AFZ-DerWald, 2017, Bd. 5, S. 32–35. (In Ger.).

  63. Niemistö P., Viherä-Aarnio A., Velling P., Heräjärvi H., Verkassalo E. Koivun kasvatus ja käyttö. Metsäkustannus Oy, 2008. 254 s. (In Fin.).

  64. Nikkanen T., Velling P. Metsäpuiden Erikoismuodot – koristepuita viherrakentamiseen. Metsäkustannus Oy, 2011. 156 s. (In Fin.).

  65. Paganová V. Analysis of Inheritance and Growth of Curly Birch Progenies from Controlled Hybridisation and Possibilities of their Utilisation for Timber Production in Agricultural Landscape. Czech Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding, 2004, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 51–62.

  66. Raulo J., Sirén G. Neljän visakoivikon päätehakkuun tuotos ja tuotto [Yield in Volume and Money of Final Cutting in Four Curly Birch Stands]. Silva Fennica, 1978, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 245–252. (In Fin.).

  67. Ryynänen L., Ryynänen M. Propagation of Adult Curly Birch Succeeds with Tissue Culture. Silva Fennica, 1986, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 139–147.

  68. Saarnio R. Viljeltyjen visakoivikoiden laatu ja kehitys Etelä-Suomessa. Folia Forestalia, 1976, no. 263, pp. 1–28. (In Fin.).

  69. Sarvas R. Visakoivikon perustaminen ja hoito. Metsätal Aikakauslehti, 1966, vol. 83, no. 8, pp. 331–333. (In Fin.).

  70. Scholz E. Das Verbreitungsgebiet der Braunmaserbirke. Archiv für Forstwesen, 1963, Bd. 12, Nr. 12, S. 1243–1253. (In Ger.).

  71. Sibul I., Habicht K.-L., Ploomi A. Curly Birch Stands and Cultivation Results in Estonia. Structural and Functional Deviations from Normal Growth and Development of Plants under the Influence of Environmental Factors: Materials of the International Conference. Petrozavodsk, KarRC RAS Publ., 2011, pp. 310–313.

  72. Velling V.P., Viherä-Aarnio A., Rautanen J. Züсhtung und Anbau von Birke in Finland – eine Erfolgsstory? Forst und Holz, 2002, Jg. 57, Nr. 15/16, S. 459–465. (In Ger.).


Make a Submission


Lesnoy Zhurnal (Russian Forestry Journal) was awarded the "Seal of Recognition for Active Data Provider of the Year 2024"